China signs major bridge and railway deals in the Philippines
US$1.34 billion projects support Duterte’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure programme
19 Jan 2021 | Michael Marray

Chinese companies have signed two major construction contracts in The Philippines, for a bridge link to Davao City in Mindanao and a cargo railway in Luzon.

The US$940 million Subic-Clark railway project contract was signed on January 16. The two parties are now negotiating a debt package.

The 71-kilometre single-track cargo railway will connect the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and Clark International Airport, and link to the North Railway Project. Construction is expected to take 42 months.

"Once completed, the railway will build a resilient linkage between ports, railways, and airports along the Subic-Clark corridor, which will improve the logistic efficiency, trim the transportation cost and support the potential demand for freight services and economic activities in the region," the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said in a statement.

On January14  the Chinese Embassy announced that China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) had signed a contract to build a bridge connecting Davao City and Samal Island, in Mindanao.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and CRBC signed the US$400 million contract.

Detailed engineering design and construction of the 3.98-kilometre Samal Island to Davao City Connector (SIDC) Project will begin soon. The project is expected to break ground in the first half of 2021, with construction taking five years.

Bilateral cooperation 

The bridge is one of the key government-to-government cooperation projects between China and the Philippines, a Chinese Embassy said.

The four-lane bridge connects the Island Garden City of Samal to Davao City across the Pakiputan Strait.

The main cable-stayed bridge structure is 1.62 kilometres long. The bridge will provide a transportation link between Metro Davao and Samal Island, reducing the transportation time and enhancing internal mobility and external linkage to support the economic and tourist growth potential of the region.

On January 16 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte met with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and discussed enhancing bilateral cooperation.

Wang said China strongly supports the Philippines' efforts to achieve economic recovery as soon as possible, adding that China will contribute to its "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure programme by actively promoting cooperation on big projects.