Philippines taps China-backed AIIB to fix infrastructure

MANILA: Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has tapped a China-backed multilateral lender to help fund his government’s “unprecedented infrastructure buildup”, the finance minister said on Monday, as he seeks closer relations with Beijing.
The Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been viewed by some as a rival to the World Bank and the Philippines-based Asian Development Bank (ADB). Duterte has vowed to boost spending to address crumbling infrastructure, saying he would seek funds from China as he pivots his nation’s foreign policy away from traditional ally the United States.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said he met with AIIB president Jin Liqun in Manila last week, who confirmed the lender would fund two projects.
“The Philippines’ membership to the AIIB would provide the government another source of long-term funding… for the Duterte administration’s unprecedented infrastructure buildup,” Dominguez said in a statement on Monday.
Duterte, 71, increasingly turned to China for loans and aid as he took exception to United States criticism.
Over the weekend Duterte attacked Washington for deferring aid because of human rights concerns over his anti-crime crackdown.
Jin said the AIIB would provide loans for a Manila flood management project and a bus rapid transit system in the capital, according to the statement.
The $470 million Manila flood control project would be co-financed with the World Bank, while the $756 million bus system, which includes construction of 63 stations, would be partly funded by the ADB, the statement added. — Reuters