By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Sunday urged the Duterte administration to ensure there is public transparency about its dealings with China.
Gatchalian made the call after Malacañang announced it cornered more than $12-billion worth of new investments and trade deals during President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent trip to China.
“We need transparency, the more transparent mabubura ang pagdududa natin sa China (we can erase our negative perception on China),” Gatchalian said in a Radio DZBB interview.
Similar to what they did with the $34-billion worth of loan agreements the government entered into with China in 2016, the senator said the government should likewise publish details of its latest transactions during the Belt and Road Forum.
The investments China committed to the Philippines during the Forum include infrastructure, energy, petrochemical, and industrial park projects which are expected to create more than 21,000 jobs for Filipinos.
“In fairness with the DoF (Department of Finance), they were able to upload copies of the loan documents after three days, so we had time to study these agreements),” said Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on economic affairs.
“We are happy with the $12-billion worth of new investments they got, but they should also be transparent by uploading details of these new investments in the DOF’s website,” he said.
“We need to know the actual transaction and investment we are accepting. Are these loans, or are they grants?” he pointed out.
The senator also reminded the government there are many aspects of its deals with China that Filipinos are sensitive about, in particular, the West Philippine Sea issue and talks of a joint exploration.
“Even if it’s a broad issue if there are details that need to be discussed about these meeting, should be made known to the public,” he said.
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