Stratbase: 4 contracts bagged by Chinese firms ‘onerous’ | Inquirer News

Stratbase: 4 contracts bagged by Chinese firms ‘onerous’

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:50 AM July 11, 2021

A think-tank has echoed the concerns of several sectors over four “onerous” multibillion-peso contracts the government had awarded to Chinese companies, including one that was implicated in the graft-plagued Northrail project of the Arroyo administration.

Collating the results of its study on the projects, the Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute noted that these infrastructure projects “disregarded the rule of law and characteristically lacked transparency and accountability.”

The study covered the signed agreements for the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project, Dito Telecommunity and the controversial Safe Philippines Project, which would install thousands of security cameras in major cities around the country.


“It is the responsibility of the government to ensure transparency and accountability when it comes to transactions with other states, especially for foreign investments,” said Dindo Manhit, president of Stratbase.


In a paper written by political science professor Edwin Santiago of the De La Salle University, it was found that the agreements contained provisions that were “deemed onerous and inimical to the interests of the Philippines, such as the waiver of sovereign immunity.”

For example, Santiago said, the P4.37-billion Chico River project included a confidentiality clause that made it difficult for the public to access and scrutinize the entire contract as mandated by the Constitution.

“While more information was disclosed in other projects, they were still significantly incomplete,” he lamented.

He also noted the insufficient information as to how the project was awarded to China CAMC Engineering Co. Ltd., which was also involved in the scuttled $503-million Northrail project in 2008.

“Many of the pertinent documents relating to the project remain unavailable to the public,” Santiago said.

On the Kaliwa Dam Project, Santiago noted that the Commission on Audit had already flagged the bidding for the P18.7-billion project, which the indigenous people of Rizal and Quezon provinces had also questioned.


“It is practically the same level of information dissemination insofar as the bidding process for the selection of [Dito] and the Safe Philippines project are concerned,” he said.

Former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales earlier urged the public to demand transparency in the implementation of projects funded mainly by China.

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