Does China love us?
Obviously our beloved President loves China. But does China love us?
Of the three economically progressive countries — Japan, South Korea and China– that are our neighbors and whose ODA (Overseas Development Assistance) funds we could tap, China imposes the most onerous conditions, including interest. But why does PDu30 grsvitare towards China? When an ordinary person has a preference for one country, the next question that should be asked is, what benefit will he get from that country?
But if the person is the President or a high ranking official of the Philippines, the question is, what will the Philippines gain from it that it could not gain from other ODA providers? But there is still that other question, what would be the personal gain of the President or high-ranking official from the arrangement? Will he have a windfall by entering into an agreement with the ODA provider?
Of the three, Japan and South Korea offer better terms—as to interest and grace periods. As to quality of work, this is very important because donor countries usually require the financed projects to be done by their contractors. At the very least, they must have consultants overseeing the projects on the ground.
Thus, the Chinese would present about three Chinese contractors from which the Philippines will choose. As to the Japanese and Korean financed projects, they just require the presence of their consultants to ensure their money is not going into a black hole.
As far as known the Koreans and Japanese would not trust projects that were began by the Chinese. For instance, the Tutuban to Clark railway which was started by the Chinese as it was financed by them during Pres. Gloria Macapagal’s time and then mothballed due to allegations of corruption, is now being financed by Japan through JICA but has to start again from scratch. Obviously, the Japanese don’t trust what the Chinese accomplished. So these will be demolished first before work will start.
Also, as to commitments, what the Chinese promised were slow in coming, if these will come at all. The prospect of building a railway in Mindanao which China promised to finance is nowhere in sight. In the same boat are the bridges supposed to be built across the Pasig River. All of these seem to have been forgotten when it is already the tail end of PDu30’s term.
From these, it appears that our dealings with the Chinese was disadvantageous to us not only because of the onerous terms but also due to the stratospheric opportunity cost. We could have just approached Japan or South Korea.
So why does the President still love China? Is it his supposed friendly relations with Xi JinPing? Should national interest be sacrificed for that?
Your guess is as good as ours, but we the citizens will have to pay the loans already taken from China.**