DND hoping P30-B Aussie loan exempted from ban
MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana believes that President Rodrigo Duterte would exempt a P30-billion loan from Australia for six patrol ships from his ban on accepting aid and grants from countries that supported a United Nations resolution to investigate killings in the Philippines.
More jobs for Filipinos
Lorenzana said he was in talks with Australia about the loan, and once its details had been ironed out, he would ask the President to exclude this from the ban.
According to him, the loan carries good terms for the country as Australia was willing to finance the construction of the ships first and the Philippines could pay it back after several years.
Moreover, the offshore patrol vessels would be built by an Australian company that has a branch in Cebu that employs mostly Filipinos.
Once the loan is approved, the company was expected to hire more Filipinos, he said.
“I think this is a very good case to be exempted from the memo of the President,” he said.
“I am almost certain he will because it will benefit our people,” he added.
Should the President not agree, Lorenzana said his option would be to ask the Department of Budget and Management for P30 billion for the ships.
Earlier, Malacañang issued a memo suspending all new talks and deals for loans and grants from 18 countries that backed an Iceland-sponsored resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council seeking inquiry into the killings that took place under Duterte’s drug war.
Aside from Iceland and Australia, the nations that supported the measure were Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Uruguay.
The ban was imposed “in light of the administration’s strong rejection of the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council,” according to the memo.
The ban would stay while the Philippines assesses its relationship with the countries that backed the resolution.
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