Philippine president hails completion of China-funded bridge, expressing gratitude
MANILA, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday lauded the completion of a China-funded bridge that highlights the "goodwill of the Chinese people and its government."
The Estrella-Pantaleon (EP) Bridge over the Pasig river is a two-way, four-lane V-shaped concrete girder bridge that connects the cities of Makati and Mandaluyong, two major cities in Metro Manila. An estimated 50,000 vehicles will pass by the bridge per day.
Duterte noted that the new bridge will help ease traffic congestion along major thoroughfares in Metro Manila and will improve the mobility of people and goods between cities in the capital region.
"It will also support our efforts for the gradual reopening of our economy, and improve the resilience of roads and bridges in Metro Manila against natural disasters," he added.
The EP bridge, constructed by China Road and Bridge Corporation, is a flagship project under the Philippine government’s "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program.
"I would like to express our gratitude to the government of the People’s Republic of China for financing the project," Duterte said, stressing that it "highlights the goodwill of the Chinese people and its government and further cements the good relations between our two countries."
Duterte and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian witnessed together the inauguration of the EP bridge on Thursday.
Huang said the completion of EP Bridge marks major progress of the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the "Build, Build, Build" program, signifying the multiple China-Philippines government-to- government cooperation projects are entering into a new stage of harvest.
"As a Chinese saying goes, building roads and railways leads to prosperity in all sectors," said Huang, adding EP bridge "is expected to greatly enhance traffic, facilitate people’s travel across the Pasig river, and promote social and economic development in this region."
Huang noted more projects will break grounds or be completed in succession in the coming years.
"I believe that the progress of the government-to-government projects between China and the Philippines will contribute to achieving Duterte administration’s goal and bring more and more benefits to the Filipinos across the country," he added.