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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Virtual town hall discusses PH’s bilateral deals for infrastructure

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Advocates disclosed serious economic and security risks to the Philippines and countries engaging in bilateral deals for infrastructure and the Belt Road Initiative projects of China.

In the recent virtual town hall discussion of the Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute on “Belt Road Initiative and Corrosive Capital: Mitigating Corruption Risks in the Philippines”, Former Ombudsman and Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, in her keynote described the BRI as “essentially China's blueprint to advance its geopolitical interest and an embodiment of China's dream of increasing its domestic and international power.”

“What is key at this time in history is a matter of proceeding with caution and a matter of understanding the underlying implications of this engagement to the government, to our society, to our sovereignty, and to our future as a nation,” Carpio-Morales said.

Regional Director of international think tank, Center for International Private Enterprise, Jon Morrell said, “A democratic government simply cannot borrow money from secret sources for secret purposes on secret terms and be considered a democratic government.”

Morrel explained, “There are ironclad non-disclosure clauses in the loan documents which means that you are violating the terms of the loan if you disclose to the public the terms of the loan.”

Morrel warned that, “Loans from China mandate that the public works contracts be awarded on a no bid, no compete basis.”

Stratbase ADRi Fellow and De La Salle University Professor Edwin Santiago said, “Perhaps the most controversial and inflammatory issue about the CRPIP is the waiver of sovereign immunity in light of the experience of other countries such as Sri Lanka, Djibouti, and Maldives with China. These countries have been reported to have had to give up their strategic national assets.”

Stratbase ADRi President, Prof. Dindo Manhit in his statement said, “The people expect the President to protect the interests of the Philippines and its citizens, not the interests of a foreign government.”

“As citizens we have the right to demand transparency, accountability, and the purging of these harmful foreign investments that are threatening our national security and socio-economic stability,” Manhit said.

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