Neda, DOF told to be more transparent on ‘Build, Build, Build’ loans
MANILA, Philippines – The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) and the Department of Finance (DOF) should be more transparent with loan deals that the government enters into under the “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Tuesday.
Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate committee on economic affairs which held an inquiry on the BBB program on Tuesday, said the government should practice greater transparency amid allegations of “onerous” deals with China
“Yan (transparency) talaga ang pinaka-malaking pagkululang ng Neda and DOF,” Gatchalian told reporters.
(Transparency is a major shortcoming of Neda and DOF.)
“Dahil alam na natin ngayon na madaming agam-agam pagdating sa loans coming from China,” he added.
(There are apprehensions regarding supposed loans from China.)
The senator earlier urged the Neda and DOF to “practice greater transparency” and go beyond what the freedom of information requires, instructing both agencies to upload details on their websites so it could be easily accessed by the public.
“I want to urge Neda and DOF to really practice greater transparency,” Gatchalian said during the Senate probe.
“There is a freedom of information (FOI) directive, it doesn’t bar us from practicing greater transparency beyond what the FOI requires,” he added.
The DOF revealed that there were loan agreements with Japan, Korea, and China.
Concerns about Chinese loan agreements have been raised earlier by former lawmaker and senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares, in particular the one covering the Chico River dam project.
Colmenares said the loan terms for the Chico River dam project was “onerous and highly favors China.”
IBON foundation’s Rosario Guzman also said there are provisions under the Chico River loan agreement that are “disadvantageous” and “onerous” as well as “void” or “voidable.”
“We’re looking at dalawang klase, whether provisions are void or voidable, and the other one, whether they are disadvantageous or onerous para sa Pilipinas,” Guzman said.
Gatchalian said he wants to get a hold of the loan documents in order to delve into the details and assess its impact to the country. /gsg
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