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Philippines must beware those loans from China (The Nation)

August 7, 2018

By Alito L. Malinao 

In his first visit to China in October 2016, President Duterte signed a cooperation agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping, with Beijing pledging to provide funding for 30 projects in the Philippines worth billions of dollars.

As part of this agreement, China has earmarked 4.37 billion pesos (Bt2.75 billion) for the Chico River Dam project, the groundbreaking of which was held last June 8. The project is funded by China Exim Bank and implemented by China CAMC Engineering Co Ltd.

Beijing has also pledged to fund two Philippine railway projects with a combined cost of $8.3 billion (Bt276 billion), and 30 smaller projects valued at $3.7 billion.

While Chinese loans appear to be attractive, they are not, in reality, that benevolent, and could be harmful to the country in the long term.

...

According to the Washington-based Centre for Global Development (CGD), a nonprofit research organisation, nations participating in the current Belt and Road investment plan that will default in their loan repayments will eventually find themselves at the mercy of Beijing. It said eight nations are now vulnerable to above-average debt: Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, the Maldives, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan and Tajikistan. 

Read the full article here.

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Senior Fellow, Director of the US Development Policy Initiative