Two weeks before Duterte’s term ends, a 2.34 billion RMB loan from China was secured for the Samal Island-Davao City Connector (SIDC).

Barely two weeks before the end of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte’s term, the Philippines was able to secure a 2.34 billion RMB (about ₱17.39 billion) loan from China.

On Tuesday, June 14, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez III confirmed that he had exchanged documents with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian for the concessional loan (around $362 million), which would be used as funding for the Samal Island-Davao City Connector (SIDC)—a 3.86-kilometer two-way, four-lane bridge.

Under the Duterte administration, this is the first renmimbi-denominated loan from Beijing, which will cover 90% of the project’s design-and-build contract that’s worth ₱19.32 billion. Moreover, the loan has a 2% annual interest rate and is payable in 20 years, including a grace period of 7 years.

Build, Build, Build

According to the DOF, the new credit line means that Beijing’s total financing commitments to the Philippines now amount to $1.1 billion. This amount covers loans for projects like the Chico River pump irrigation and Kaliwa Dam, as well as the project management consultancy for the Philippine National Railways Bicol.

The agency further adds that the SIDC project “complements the Mindanao Spatial Strategy or Development Framework 2015 to 2045, the Davao Regional Development Plan, and the Davao Gulf Area Development Plan 2011-2030.

“Davao City’s economic prospects could only get better with this project,” Dominguez tweeted on Monday. “This will catalyze the region’s growth potential by enhancing mobility, easing access to tourism activities in Samal, and opening more opportunities for employment.”

Huang also adds that the bridge will “improve transportation efficiency, promote internal mobility, and stimulate tourism potential once completed.” Likewise, he too welcomes the employment opportunities from this project. “This project will break ground before long. Look forward to seeing the long-awaited cross-sea bridge turning from a vision into a reality!” said the Chinese envoy.

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