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PH will disclose infra deals with China, Palace assures

Malacañang is open to disclosing infrastructure agreements with Chinese companies to promote transparency in the bureaucracy.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the assurance on Monday, as Philippine officials head to Beijing this week to discuss possible infrastructure cooperation with China.

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“Well, that’s pursuant to transparency, so yes, why not?” Panelo said at a press briefing.

But Sen. Leila de Lima said the Duterte administration should heed warnings from the United States and Malaysia, which have cautioned against accepting loans from China, given the sad experience of other countries.

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De Lima, in a statement, cited the advice of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about loan agreements with China.

“This is not the first time that top leaders or experts cautioned us about our dealings with China that could unfavorably affect our country’s future, both in the aspects of financial and territorial security. We need to learn from the unfortunate fate of others who borrowed before us,” she said.

One-sided loan deal

China is set to fund several infrastructure projects in the Philippines, including the Chico River irrigation project, which has been hit for its one-sided loan agreement that favors Beijing.

Mahathir cautioned against borrowing huge sums of money from China.

“If you borrow huge sums from China and you cannot pay—you know when a person is a borrower, he is under the control of the lender,” Mahathir said.

The government is planning to spend P8 trillion for its ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure projects.

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Panelo said he had no details of the trip of the Philippine delegation, headed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, to Beijing this week, which was announced by the Department of Finance.

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TAGS: China-Philippines deals, Infrastructure projects, Leila de Lima, Salvador Panelo
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