• Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua (Photo : Getty Images)

According to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua, China will be giving the Philippines a 4 billion grant for the construction of two Philippine bridges and two drug rehabilitation centers. The bridges will be located over the Pasig River while the rehab centers will be built in Mindanao.

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The cost of the bridges is estimated at around 500 million yuan while the drug rehabilitation centers have a budget of 50 million yuan. The said amounts have an equivalent of around P4 billion.

During the 28th Philippines-China Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation (JCETC), top Chinese and Philippine officials have come to an agreement for the Chinese grant for the two bridges. The JCETC was held more than a week ago.

150 beds will be provided for each of the drug rehabilitation centers to be funded by the grant. The project is to support President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs.”

At the sidelines of the signing ceremony, Zhao said that “the drug rehab centers will cost about 50 million yuan and the Pasig river bridges will involve about 500 million yuan. We hope we can do it as soon as possible.”

The ambassador did not give a specific timeline for the projects but according to him, China would like them to be “iconic symbols of Chinese and Philippine friendship.”

Zhao also mentioned of the arrival of Vice Premier Wang Yang in the Philippines on Thursday. Wang will be the highest Chinese official to visit the Philippines under the Duterte administration.

China and the Philippines have a long-time territorial dispute over the South China Sea. Duterte has been working to mend the soured relationship between the two countries.

With the signing of the 4 billion grant and the construction of two Philippine bridges, Duterte’s efforts are starting to pay off.