BY CRIS DIAZ
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: Cagayan de Oro Congressman and Deputy Speaker Rufus B. Rodriguez urged the Marcos administration to forego the Chinese loan for the three railway projects in the country and explore other financing options.
In a statement released Sunday, Rodriguez, said that “the Philippine government has other funding options, which the Marcos leadership could explore.”
The lawmaker cited the international financial institutions and even the county’s private business community to finance the country’s major infrastructures.
He said such options include multilateral institutions like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, international assistance agencies such as the US AID, JICA of Japan, Korean agency and EU Fund, the local banking and business community and even the annual national budget.
China’s disapproval of the P 275 billion loan to finance the railway projects in the country was certain when China failed to favorably respond on the Philippine’s proposed loan package on or before the June 30, 2022 deadline.
Rodriguez said that the failure of Beijing to approve the Duterte administration’s loan application prompting the latter to withdraw it, “shows that we cannot rely on our so-called Chinese friends.”
“Moreover, there were also suspicions that the loans from China might have some string attached that could sacrifice our full sovereign rights over our territory in the West Philippine Sea”, Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez also urged the Marcos administration to pursue the three railway projects, especially the first Phase of the Mindanao railway “that have been six years in the making.”
He said that the government could use the annual national budget to undertake the Mindanao project.
“With a P 5.2 trillion national budget, the P 83 billion railway project for the people of Mindanao is a pittance,” he said.
The three affected railway projects were the first package of the Philippine National Railways-Bicol line, from Calamba in Laguna to Daraga, Albay, with a cost of P142 billion; the 71-kilometer, P50-billion link between Clark Freeport Zone in Angeles City and Subic Freeport; and the P83-billion first phase of the Mindanao railway covering 102 kilometers. -0-