Hontiveros to Bongbong Marcos: Avoid unnecessary loans
MANILA, Philippines —Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday cautioned President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. against following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, by taking out excessive amounts of debt.
“Wag sanang tularan ni President Marcos si ex-President Duterte na nagpumilit umutang sa China kahit hindi naman kailangan. Kaya, President Marcos, hinay-hinay lang sa pera ng bayan,” Hontiveros said in a statement amid the Senate’s debate on the 2023 national budget.
(Hopefully, President Marcos would not borrow money from China just in case, like former president Duterte did. We urge President Marcos to exercise fiscal restraint. )
“Dapat maiwasan ni Pres. Marcos ang mga dambuhalang utang na naka-amba dahil kay President Duterte, lalo na kung hindi naman pala utang ang kailangan ng mga proyektong ito. We should do everything so government avoids taking on the heavy loan burden itself,” she added.
(President Marcos should avoid the huge debt that we have because of President Duterte, especially if we do not need a loan for some projects.)
As examples, Hontiveros mentioned the P18.7 billion Kaliwa Dam project and the P171 billion South Luzon Long Haul Rail Project during deliberations of the 2023 national budget.
The senator said that the projects are in limbo because Chinese investors have not delivered on their promise to lend money to the Philippine government.
In 2016, Hontiveros said, a group of private sector contenders was selected for a shortlist.
The opposition senator also urged for the review, conducted by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), of the economic viability of the Mindanao Rail and the Subic-Clark Rail projects.
“We have reason to believe that [the] economic evaluation of these projects was not thorough at all. These two projects were also originally offered for China to finance, but the need for them at this time should really be re-examined. Baka wala pong sumakay at maging white elephant projects lang ang mga ito,” Hontiveros pointed out.
(Commuters may not patronize the rail projects which may turn into white elephant projects.)
To date, the country’s debt soared to P13.5 trillion.
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