DOF: Chinese loans not tied to joint oil exploration in disputed waters
Big-ticket infrastructure and development projects will be rolled out by the Philippines in cooperation with China—with three loan accords due for signing before year-end—despite a territorial dispute between the two over sections of the West Philippine Sea.
In a press statement, the Department of Finance (DOF) stressed neither the maritime dispute nor the proposal of exploring the contested waters jointly for oil deposits came up during the regular meetings on the negotiations and processing of new loans with China, and even in the bilateral, high-level meetings between fiscal authorities and their Chinese counterparts.
DOF issued the statement to debunk claims published online about a Chinese embassy official supposedly using China’s offers of loans and grants to force the Philippines to agree to a joint exploration deal in the West Philippine Sea.
“This is a grossly malicious claim without any basis,” the DOF said. “There is no link whatsoever between the Chinese loans and grants and the proposed joint oil exploration deal between the two countries.”
“In fact, the proposed infrastructure projects we are undertaking with the cooperation of China all go through a very stringent process of approvals to ensure that they comply with the Government Procurement Act and other applicable laws,” it said.
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