The Philippines has a way to protect itself against a rise in US-China tensions

  • The Philippines will focus on growing its domestic economy as a way to cope with an escalation in the U.S.-China trade tensions, its Secretary of Finance Carlos Dominguez said.

An escalation in the U.S.-China trade dispute would hit the Philippines, which count the two economic giants among its five largest trading partners.

But the Southeast Asian country has a plan to protect its economy from the impact, its secretary of finance said on Thursday.

"Strategically speaking, the Philippines will concentrate on what we're doing right now, which is investing in infrastructure and look for growth internally rather than through external trade," Carlos Dominguez, the country's secretary of finance, told CNBC's Oriel Morrison.

Dominguez, speaking at the Asian Development Bank annual meeting in Manila, said that's one reason why the Philippine government passed a tax bill to raise money to fund the country's $170 billion "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program.

The program is part of President Rodrigo Duterte's plan to transform the Philippine economy by generating more jobs and reducing poverty.