A prominent blue blood Boholano who traces his lineage to the distinguished Borja clan of Tagbilaran City has been named special envoy of the President to The People’s Republic of China by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Fernando “Ding” Borja, a Cebuano-based businessman, who has earned the respect and confidence of Duterte was part of the official presidential entourage that was in Bejing, China for the historic and crucial four-day state visit started on October 18, 2016, and ended Friday, October 21, 2016.
Borja is now part of a growing list of Boholanos that serve President Duterte in the upper echelons of government that also include Cabinet Secretary and Former Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio “Tuloy” Evasco and National Economic and Development Authority Socio-Economic Planning Secretary and Director General Ernesto Pernia.
Borja’s appointment as special envoy of Duterte to China is crucial in the light of the more than an estimated $1 trillion worth of infrastructure projects that needs financing in the next six years.
Borja was part of the 400-strong group of top Filipino business leaders including business tycoons Ramon Ang of the San Miguel group, Manuel Pangilinan of Metro Pacific and PLDT, Lucio Tan of the Lucio Tan Group, Hans Sy of SM and Carlos Chan of Oishi among others.
Borja was also one of the participants representing the Philippine Government in the signing ceremony between the All-Asia Reclamation Corporation (ARRC) Group and CCCC-CDC on October 19, 2016, at the ZiJin Room of the Grand Hotel Beijing.
Chinese companies have expressed keen interest in the development of Sangley Point, a former US Naval Station into an international airport and seaport on reclaimed land off Cavite City, according to Borja.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the Lucio Tan Group, Chair of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCI), Evasco, Pernia, Borja, Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas and DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez lll.
Borja will be part of the team to oversee the realization of the proposal to build a P10 billion international airport and seaport on reclaimed land in Cavity City to decongest the crowded Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Duterte was in China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping in what many considered a balancing act by the president to gain economic benefits and use the state visit as a diplomatic leverage against the United States, aÂ long-time ally.
With his vast experience in negotiating business deals as president of Adnama Mining Resources, engaged in real estate, nickel production, and other business interests, Borja will work closely with the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to ensure funding of critical government programs.
Borja told theÂ ChronicleÂ in a text message on his arrival from China together with the presidential entourage, that as special envoy, his role is to seek and arrange for grants, secure much-needed financing for the government’s big-ticket infrastructure projects and promote the public-private partnership program of the government with interested business groups.
Borja also disclosed that the DOF and the DTI will focus on five areas of cooperation with the world’s second biggest economy on bilateral financial cooperation, project financing, agricultural trade and cooperation, customs cooperation and growth in tourism.
Borja explained that these areas of cooperation is in support of the Duterte administration’s agenda on poverty reduction, fight against corruption, upholding the rule of law and order and seeking lasting peace with neighboring countries in the international community and a lasting solution to Asia’s longest armed rebellion.
As a special envoy of Duterte to China, the 64-year-old businessman considers his position in the administration as the biggest challenge of his business career “since these will impact on the lives of millions of Filipinos not only during the six years of the Duterte administration but to the next generation.”
Duterte’s China state visit brought home financing and business deals valued at $15 billion in investment projects and $9 billion in credit facilities that will generate an estimated two million jobs for Filipinos in the next five years.Â (Chito M. Visarra)