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China debt trap baseless, says Finance chief

Clark, Pampanga―The claims that the Philippines is in danger of drowning in Chinese debt are unfounded, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said here Monday.

“There is no danger of us being drowned from Chinese debt,” Dominguez said in a speech before the business community during Sulong Pilipinas 2018.

He made the statement even as Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said the public did not know that the country owed $1.75 billion in five loan packages.

As a result, he stressed the importance of a Senate-approved bill mandating four Cabinet men to make two “national fiscal status” reports before a House-Senate oversight panel in a year.

 

Recto said this was also needed with the “national debt meter moving up but without us knowing the details.”

“If the President has a report to the country, his people should also have report on the public debt,” Recto said. 

Dominguez, citing data from the Department of Finance’s International Finance Group, said the loan from China accounted for only 0.11 percent of the country’s total debt.

“We borrow with great prudence, aware that it is the taxpayer who ultimately pays for the debt,” Dominguez said.

“Thus we take care that the funds we borrow are wisely used and produce sufficient economic benefits to make the debt service easier down the road.”

The Philippines finalized two loan agreements with China: $72.49 million for the Chico River Irrigation project and P18.724 billion for the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit on Tuesday. 

 

Topics: Chinese debt , Carlos Dominguez III , Department of Finance , Chico River Irrigation , Xi Jinping , Ralph Recto
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