Sen. Villanueva contests, slams infra loan deal with China
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joel Villanueva on Tuesday opposed a provision in the loan deal for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project that allows China to seize the country’s patrimonial assets in case of payment default.
“We have already seen the negative effects of this type of arrangement with China in a number of countries where China eventually ended up controlling the resources and critical assets of a country,” Villanueva said in a statement.
Villanueva was referring to a provision in the loan deal between the Philippines and China which states that “in case of default by the Philippines in repayment of the loan, China can seize, to satisfy any arbitral award in favor of China, patrimonial assets and assets dedicated to commercial use’ of the Philippine government.”
The senator also called the employment of Chinese nationals for the construction of the projects as “unfair” and “unconstitutional”.
“Even the provision on the use of Chinese labor is unfair to us, unconstitutional to say the least,” Villanueva said adding that infrastructure projects should provide job opportunities for Filipinos.
Lower interest options
Villanueva said that other financial institutions also offered lower interest rates for the project.
He added that entering in a long-term agreement is “essentially putting the future generation in a bind” underscoring that provisions in these agreements should fall within the Constitution.
“We have to guarantee that the Filipino people are not worse off with these loans,” Villanueva stressed. / gsg
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