'Dutertenomics' all set for its global debut

President Rodrigo Duterte swearing in the new Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu on Monday. The Philippine leader will be pitching an ambitious $243 billion infrastructure programme for the country.
President Rodrigo Duterte swearing in the new Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy Cimatu on Monday. The Philippine leader will be pitching an ambitious $243 billion infrastructure programme for the country.PHOTO: REUTERS

Philippine leader to discuss his vision for country's economy in China, Cambodia

President Rodrigo Duterte will visit Cambodia and China this week to pitch to the rest of the world an economic vision focused on an ambitious US$173 billion (S$243 billion) infrastructure programme, dubbed "Dutertenomics".

Mr Duterte will be in Phnom Penh today and tomorrow to participate in the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Asean, and in Beijing for the Belt and Road Forum on Sunday and Monday.

At both meetings, he is expected to discuss his blueprint to transform the Philippines into a high middle-income economy by the end of his term in 2022.

Dutertenomics is meant to spark a "golden age of infrastructure" with turbocharged spending on new roads, bridges, railways, airports and seaports.

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The biggest outlays will be on the country's first subway, long- delayed railway projects in the main Luzon island and in the southern island group of Mindanao, development of a "new city" at a former US military base as well as major improvements to the airport in Davao City, Mr Duterte's home town.

Around 80 per cent of the infrastructure spending is scheduled to be financed locally, and the rest from foreign sources, with China pledging about US$24 billion.

AIDING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Anything that can help the Philippines in its economic development is very welcome, and we believe that the Belt and Road initiative can be a helpful mechanism for the Philippines to promote its economic interests in the region.

DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SPOKESMAN ROBESPIERRE BOLIVAR, on a possible meeting between Mr Duterte and Mr Xi in Beijing.

Meanwhile, Mr Robespierre Bolivar, spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs, said Mr Duterte, as Asean chair, would address about 700 WEF delegates concerning Asean integration. The President will have a separate meeting with chief executives to promote his economic agenda.

In Beijing, Mr Duterte will participate in a round-table discussion hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping for 28 world leaders.

Mr Bolivar said a bilateral meeting between Mr Duterte and Mr Xi is still being arranged.

"Anything that can help the Philippines in its economic development is very welcome, and we believe that the Belt and Road initiative can be a helpful mechanism for the Philippines to promote its economic interests in the region," he said.

And Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno has told ABS-CBN News that Mr Duterte is expected to "cement" US$24 billion in trade and investment pledges he secured during his state visit to China eight months ago.

"We just want to be there to maybe exchange notes, make sure that these commitments are cemented," he said.

In between his trips to Cambodia and China, Mr Duterte will make a stopover, on May 12, in Hong Kong, where more than 210,000 Filipinos are working.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2017, with the headline ''Dutertenomics' all set for its global debut'. Print Edition | Subscribe