CHINA must rush the start and completion of “trophy projects” as proof of their good intentions toward the Philippines and to overturn the Filipinos cynical perception that their Northern neighbor is a bully, a lawmaker said yesterday.
“If I were the Chinese, I would start building big infrastructure projects as these can be the monuments of friendship to win Filipino hearts,” said Deputy Speaker Rolando Andaya Jr. of Camarines Sur.
Andaya said China’s “charm offensive” should not only happen on land, in terms of railways, to cite one example, but most important in seas.
“The Japanese did it for decades after the war, by financing the construction of thousands of kilometers of road,” Andaya said, referring to Tokyo’s postwar reparations to the country it brutally occupied.
Andaya said Beijing must see the country’s huge infrastructure needs as “the perfect opening to do good.”
“They can build the Mindanao railway, for example, on a part-grant, part-loan scheme, with a long grace repayment period, and at a price that is the lowest for a quality that is the highest in the world,” Andaya said.
“Kung sasabihin nila na sila na ang gagawa nang libre ng Manila to Legazpi railroad kasama na ang modernong mga tren, bakit hindi? Basta malinaw lang na hindi ito kapalit ng ating mga isla at karagatan,” Andaya said.
The catalog of needs is long, Andaya said. “Modernong hospital equipment. Farm machinery. Marami ’yan.”
Andaya said repairing Philippine-China relations should involve “people-to-people diplomacy too.”
“If millions of Chinese tourists will vacation here yearly, then it’s a kind of invasion we should welcome. Tourism receipts is the fastest mode of economic exchange and transfer,” he said.