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It’s official! Duterte, Xi sign deal on joint oil exploration, 28 other agreements

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By Prince Golez

In an effort to improve the bilateral relations between the two countries, President Rodrigo Duterte and President Xi Jinping of China witnessed on Tuesday the signing of 29 cooperation agreements in Malacanang Palace.

Xi is currently in the Philippines for a two-day visit.

The deals signed between the Philippines and China were the following:

*Memorandum of Undertanding (MOU) on cooperation on the Belt and Road initiative,
*MOU on Cooperation on oil and gas development
*MOU between the Foreign Service Institute of the Philippines and the China Foreign Affairs University
*MOU between the Philippines’ Cooperative Development Authority of the Philippines and Ministry of Agriculture aand Rural Affairs of China on strengthening the building of agricultural cooperatives
*Infrastructure Cooperation, Program for Cooperation on Industrial Parks Development
*Renminbi clearing arrangement
*Protocol for phytosanitary requirement for export of fresh young coconuts, Protocol of sanitary and phytosanitary requirements for export of frozen fruits
*Economic and Technical Cooperation
*Commercial Contract of Safe Philippines Project Phase 1, *Commercial Contract of the NEw Centennial
*Jointly Promoting the Cooperation in Key Infrastructure Projects in Davao Region
*Certificate of Humanitarian Cash Assistance and
*Certificate of Emergency Humanitarian Cash Assistance

“In the past two years, we have worked hard to lay the cornerstones for the continued advancement of our beneficial cooperation in a wide range of areas,” Duterte said in a press statement.

“A lot of work remains, but President Xi’s visit gives us new impetus to our mutual efforts to enhance collaboration in ensuring the well-being of our peoples and contributing to peace and stability in the region,” he added.

Both sides also inked an MOU between the Department of Information and Communications Technology and China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, MOU on Basic Education Cooperation, MOU on Panda Bonds Issuance, MOU on Supporting Feasibility Study of Major Projects between the Department of Finance (DOF) and China International Development Cooperation Agency, Feasibility Study of Nature Projects between the DOF and China International Development Cooperation Agency, and Commercial Contract of the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwan Dam Project.

China also agreed to provide loan assistance for the New Centennial Water Source Kaliwan Dam Project, Industriaal Park between Bases Conversion and Development Authority and China Gezhouba Group Company Limited, Project Management Consultance of the Philippine National Railways South Long Haul Project-North-South Railway Project, the Feasibility Study for Davao City Expressway Project, and Feasibility Study for Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridges Project.

“As our two countries forge ahead as win win partners, China will continue to do its modest best to help and support the Philippines. Our support will come in many forms, from lending a hand to your counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism struggle, to helping to repair roads and bridges in Marawi and build new infrastructure there,” said Xi.

The Chinese leader also said his country will import more goods in the Philippines and has approved the export of Philippine coconuts and frozen fruits to China.

“China will provide another 50 government scholarship grants for Philippine students on annual basis, from 2019 to 2021, and will implement arrangements for Filipino teachers of the English language to work in China. Also, China will donate 10,000 tons of rice to help those communities devastated by typhoon ‘Ompong’,” he added.

In addition, the two governments exchanged a series of letters on a bridge and road project in Marawi, Davao River Bridge project, Project of Container Inspection Equipment, Executive Program of the Cultural Agreement between the Philippines and China for 2019 to 2023, Organization of Renminbi-Philippine peso foreign exchange trading market, and Certificate to Operate for the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited Manila Branch.