Press Release
April 2, 2019

Grace Poe on the President's directive to review gov't contracts

We welcome the initiative of the President to review contracts entered into by our country.

Made in China contracts should be vetted for onerous and one-sided provisions. For the results to be impartial, those who negotiated the contracts should have no role in reviewing them.

But more important than discovering what lurks in the fine print of these contracts is the more important question: Is the project to be funded really needed by our people? Or is it a donor-driven commercial enterprise pushed by influential brokers that is however not a priority need by the very people who will end up paying for them?

Yes, we need ODA. And no doubt our infrastructure backlog requires foreign participation. But we can't sweep due diligence and the laws of the land under the red carpet that government has rolled out for them. Loans must be legally compliant and must meet the good governance test. Above all, it must bear repayment terms that is the best we can get.

We can begin the review process by releasing in full the loan agreements including annexes and minutes of the meeting of the reviewing and approving bodies.

Even if some contracts with defects are set in stone or written in indelible ink, we should still try to seek better terms and pledge not to commit the same follies again.

This nation can't survive if it's saddled with loans that mortgage the future of our children and offers part of national patrimony as collateral.

Huwag gawing collateral ang kayamanan ng bayan at kinabukasan ng kabataan.

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