Marcos urged to renegotiate favorable infrastructure terms

·Contributor
·2 min read
Rep. Rufus Rodriguez is urging the Marcos administration to find other fundings for the stalled rail projects.
Cagayan de Oro Second District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said that there are other funding options that the Marcos administration could explore to fund the three major railway projects that were put on hold due to China’s cancellation of loan application. (Photo: Rodriguez – Rufus Rodriguez/Facebook; High-speed train concept – Emerging Philippines/Facebook)

A lawmaker said in a statement on Sunday (July 17) that the Marcos administration should find other ways to fund the three major railway projects that were put on hold due to China’s cancellation of loan application.

Cagayan de Oro Second District Rep. and Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez said that there are other funding options that the Marcos administration could explore, like multilateral lending institutions like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, international humanitarian groups like the US Agency for International Development, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and the European Union.

The lawmaker from Mindanao also suggested for the government to propose this in the annual national budget.

Rodriguez added that Beijing’s failure to approve the loan application of the former administration “shows that we cannot rely on our so-called Chinese friends.”

“The problem with loans from China is that there will be strings attached which will sacrifice our full sovereign rights over our West Philippine Sea,” Rodriguez further pointed out. “We have other funding options, which the new national leadership should explore.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Grace Poe said that renegotiating the loan agreements with China must resolve the issues that have saddled the prior deals.

“The President’s directive presents an auspicious opportunity to go back to the drawing board and craft deals that are fair and will produce tangible benefits to the Filipino people,” Poe said in a statement.

Poe added that since the Filipino taxpayers will be the one to repay the loans, the government must ensure that we “are not on the losing end.”

“The need to boost our infrastructure should not compromise the best interest of our country,” she said.

On Friday, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Railways Cesar Chavez said that the Duterte administration had canceled the loan application for the said projects, with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordering the DOTr to review and renegotiate the loan terms.

The three railway projects affected by China’s loan cancellation were the P142-billion first package of the Philippine National Railways–Bicol line, from Calamba City to Daraga in Albay; P50-billion 71-kilometer link between Clark Freeport Zone and Subic Freeport Zone; and the P83-billion 102-kilometer first phase of the Mindanao railway.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.

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