AMID the warning of the US on forging loan agreements with China, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo yesterday assured Filipinos that the territorial dispute issue in the West Philippine Sea has no connection with the Philippines and China’s financing deals.
Panelo underscored that the Duterte administration would not give up the Philippines’ sovereignty in the contested region as collateral for the country’s loans to China.
“Hindi naman. Wala namang kaugnayan ‘yung pagpapautang. Magbabayad naman ang bawat bansa, wala naman silang magagawa. Like for instance, umutang ka, ‘pag ikaw ay ‘di nakabayad ikaw ay sasalakayin, kukunin ang soberentiya mo? I don’t think so,” Panelo said.
“Iba na ang relasyon ng bawat bansa. Dumating tayo sa panahon na kailangan ang lahat ng bansa ay nagkakaisa considering na mayroong threat o panganib sa seguridad ng buong mundo dahil sa tinatawag na terorismo,” Panelo added.
US Vice President Mike Pence warned that China is using “debt diplomacy” just to expand its influence worldwide, noting that infrastructure loan agreements would only benefit China.
China’s foreign ministry, however, said on Sunday that no developing country would fall into a debt trap simply because of its cooperation with Beijing.
The government will review its loan agreements with China, said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez on Monday.
“With those [Pence’s] remarks, we will certainly review it again... the Belt and Road agreement but essentially, from our point of view, it will not compromise our sovereignty and it will be quite helpful to everybody,” Dominguez said.