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Refrain from borrowing from China, Recto tells gov’t

/ 12:13 PM September 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has urged Malacañang to refrain from borrowing from China considering its reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea.

In filing Senate Resolution 512, Recto called on the executive department to avoid increasing the country’s “debt exposure” to China, “with the end view of promoting transparency, safeguarding debt sustainability, and preserving and protecting national interest.”

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“I filed another resolution urging the executive department to refrain from increasing the country’s debt exposure to China. Aside from that, I think that we should not be incurring more debts from China as well,” Recto told CNN Philippines in an interview on Tuesday.

“Because of the pandemic in the Philippines, our revenues have gone down, we will be borrowing more and to finance the many Build, Build, Build projects that we will be undertaking. Hopefully, we should not be borrowing these bilaterally from China,” said Recto.

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The senator noted that China “has a track record in lending out money to many countries and we’ve seen what has happened to many countries.”

“There is what you call a debt trap as well,” he added.

“In next year’s budget, we will be collecting roughly P2.9 trillion but we will be borrowing P3 trillion, and maybe for the next two or three years. Having said that, I don’t think we should be borrowing more from China considering everything that is happening in the West Philippine Sea,” he explained.

Before this, Recto also filed Senate Resolution No. 507, which “expresses the sense of the Senate to prohibit from receiving awards for government contracts or conducting business in the Philippines foreign entities who have engaged in or abetted activities that infringe on the sovereignty of the country over the West Philippine Sea and other areas within its territorial jurisdiction.”

He said a Senate hearing will probably be conducted on this resolution on Friday.

According to Recto, many Filipinos find it reasonable to not issue awards to foreign companies involved in the reclamation of parts of the West Philippine Sea, which he noted has created “too much tension” in the region.

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“This is what we are trying to express here in this resolution, that not everyone in government is amenable, not everyone in government is saying that this is an independent foreign policy. It is a pivot to China. What independent foreign policy are we talking about?” he added.

Asked if he believes in the independent foreign policy supposedly being espoused by President Rodrigo Duterte, Recto said: “I don’t. Like I said, it’s a pivot to China. Do you believe in independent foreign policy?”

“Why should we reward contractors who reclaimed parts of the West Philippine Sea? We will allow them now to what, reclaim Manila Bay? We will allow them now to put up an airport facility in Manila Bay? Not to mention you already have the Chinese who own a certain percentage of our transmission corporation? And now, we are allowing them to enter into telecom?” he also said.

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TAGS: China, President Rodrigo Duterte, Ralph Recto, West Philippine Sea
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