Gatchalian seeks probe of ‘Build, Build, Build’ loans
The chair of the Senate economic affairs committee is seeking a review of the Duterte administration’s ambitious P8.4-trillion “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program to determine the country’s debt obligations with foreign lenders, including China.
On Sunday, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said he filed Senate Resolution No. 759 calling for an inquiry on the financial requirements of the infrastructure program to ensure “judicious, prudent and sound economic planning” by the government.
The infrastructure program is heavily reliant on Chinese loans.
In April, President Rodrigo Duterte said China played a crucial role in the “Build, Build, Build” program.
“China is a very important ingredient there,” the President said on April 9 before flying to China for the Boao Forum for Asia.
‘I need China’
“Every day the cost of money goes up. That’s the problem. We will have pricing today far different from last week. I would say I need China, more than anybody else at this time,” he said.
Gatchalian said the Senate should look into the country’s debt obligations closely, considering payments for these would otherwise go to important public services.
Gatchalian said 40 of 75 infrastructure projects that had been approved as of July 2017 would be funded through official development assistance, or loans.
The total outstanding debt of the national government as of December 2017 reached P6.6 trillion.
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