CHINA’s envoy based in Davao City sees expanded ties with the Philippines’ southern island Mindanao after President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.’s state visit to China this week.
“Apart from carrying out the important consensus of our state leaders, let’s follow the outcome of the state visit of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to China and the summit between President Xi and President Marcos,” Consul General Li Lin told BusinessWorld.
An agreement for exporting durian to China, an agricultural commodity grown mainly in Mindanao, is among the deals that are expected to be signed during the Philippine leader’s visit from Jan. 3-5.
Davao City is among the main producers of durian and serves as a base for consolidators for harvests from other Mindanao areas.
In September, the Chinese Embassy in Manila announced that an inspection team has given the green light for durian imports from the Philippines following an on-site evaluation in the Davao Region.
Davao’s durian industry has been pushing for exports to China since at least 2016.
China is a leading durian importer, purchasing 822,000 tons worth $4.21 billion in 2021.
“I believe we will be able to discuss with Davao City government together to work out a more clear and comprehensive plan for cooperation in the year 2023,” Mr. Lin said.
Potential Chinese investments in other durian-producing regions in Mindanao will also be discussed during Mr. Marcos’ visit, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Asian and Pacific Affairs Nathaniel G. Imperial said during a briefing in Malacañang last week.
Assistant Secretary Romeo M. Montenegro, the deputy executive director of the Mindanao Development Authority, noted that the growing number of Chinese investors in southern Philippines signals a deepening China-Philippines relations.
He also cited government-to-government cooperation projects such as the Samal Island-Davao City bridge, which will be funded through $350-million loan deal with China.
A P3-billion bridge that will be part of the 18.2-kilometer Davao City coastal road project will be built through a grant from China. — Maya M. Padillo