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Loan with China underwent due process: Palace



MANILA -- Malacañang on Saturday dismissed the allegations made by a senatorial candidate on the "one-sided" loan agreement the Philippines entered into with China.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo disputed former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares' claim that the loan agreement for the Chico River pump irrigation project was a "disaster for the Philippines", saying the project is beneficial to Filipinos.

"For the information of Mr. Colmenares, the Philippines and China signed a USD62.09 million (about 430.26 million renminbi) [loan agreement] last year to help fund the construction of the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, which will provide a stable supply of water to around 8,700 hectares of agricultural land, benefit 4,350 farmers and their families, and serve 21 barangays in the provinces of Kalinga and Cagayan in Northern Luzon once completed," he said.

Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, reiterated that the agreement had undergone the proper procedures in accordance with the law.

"The aforesaid project has gone through an Investment Coordinating Committee approval and the loan agreement was reviewed, negotiated, and approved by the Interagency Committee composed of the Department of Justice, the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)," he said, echoing the earlier statement of Finance Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino.

Panelo also assured that terms entered into by the Philippine government are reasonable, noting that economic managers have done careful analysis before entering into the agreement.

"We hope the political and left-leaning opposition would exercise completed staff work before issuing statements. It is clear that the matter has been studied at length by our economic managers, particularly the DOF, unlike Mr. Colmenares who has only shown himself to be ignorant of the intricacies of finance and immature with political pettiness," he said.

Panelo said Colmenares "is just desperately seeking media mileage."

"We find it pitiful that candidate Neri Colmenares is politicizing our bilateral relations with China in aid of his senatorial bid by uttering financial nonsense at the altar of politics," he said.

PNA