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DOF, China commerce ministry sign 27.52M-yuan grant on PHL agri technology


The Department of Finance (DOF) and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce signed a 27.52-million grant to modernize and boost rice production in the Philippines.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan signed on Tuesday the agreement in the form of an exchange of letters, the DOF said in a statement on Friday.

The aim is to modernize the Philippine hybrid rice center, and in turn, boost palay production.
 
“The agreement, to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture, covers Phase III of the Technical Cooperation Project for the Philippines’ Agricultural Technology Center,” the DOF said.

The Finance department said the grant—approximately P226.93 million or $4.36 million—is expected “to contribute in boosting the rice production capacity of the Philippines towards rice sufficiency by upgrading the Philippine Sino Center for Agricultural Technology’s (PhilSCAT) hybrid rice technology research and demonstration center into a Modern Hybrid Rice Breeding Station and Technology Demonstration Center.”
 
The agreement is one of the three accords with China signed by Dominguez on behalf of the Philippine government during the recent visit of President Duterte to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and attend the annual Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan province.
 
The Philippines and China signed a total of six new agreements on the sidelines of the annual forum held in the coastal town of Boao, the DOF said.

Separately, Dominguez signed a $62-million Preferential Buyer’s Credit Loan Agreement covering the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua.

Another deal, the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation, was signed with China Commerce Minister Zhong Shan involving a $79-million grant for at least four other projects undertaken by the Philippine government in cooperation with China.
 
The DOF said the P3.135-billion loan agreement on the Chico river irrigation project, which will be implemented by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), covers 85 percent of the total project cost estimated at $83.89 million or around P4.372 billion.
 
The interest rate on the loan is 2 percent per annum with a maturity period of 20 years, inclusive of a seven-year grace period, the DOF said.
 
According to the National Economic and Development Authority, the irrigation project will provide a stable water supply to around 8,700 hectares of agricultural land, benefit 4,350 farmers and their families, and serve 21 barangays in the provinces of Cagayan and Kalinga in Northern Luzon.
 
The agreement on economic and technical cooperation involves a 500-million yuan grant— around $79 million or P4.13 billion—to finance the following: the Binondo-Intramuros and Estrella Pantaleon bridges in Metro Manila (264.8 million yuan, partial funding); the feasibility study for the Davao City Expressway Project (25.83 million yuan); the radio and broadcasting equipment of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (17.82 million yuan), and the Philippine-Sino Center for Agricultural Technology-Technical Cooperation Program Phase III (27.52 million yuan).

The total grant for the four projects amounts to 335.97 million yuan.
 
The remaining 164.03 million yuan under the 500-million yuan grant will be used to finance other projects, the DOF said.
 
The Philippines and China also forged three other accords, namely, the Exchange of Letters on the Pre-Feasibility Study for the Davao City Expressway signed by Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and Zhong; the Exchange of Letters on Providing a Batch of Broadcasting Equipment to the Presidential Communications Operations Office between PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar and Zhong; and the Memorandum of Understanding on the Employment of Filipino Teachers of English Language in China between Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Zhao. —Ted Cordero/VDS, GMA News
 

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