MANILA — The Philippines’ rejection of foreign aid, loans, and grants costing at least 20 billion pesos in agriculture, education, transportation, disaster rehabilitation, energy, and environment may affect direct investments and overseas Filipinos in these countries, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Monday.
“Dalawa yan: Una yung financial assistance and development aid. These aren’t small countries. From the four countries of Australia, UK, Italy, and Spain alone, that already cost about 20 plus billion pesos. Malaking kawalan yan (That’s a huge loss),” he said in a television interview.
“But that is not the only loss. These aid agencies of these countries also provide guidance to their businessmen. Technocrats from these countries provide information that affect direct investments. If they relay such information of pressure, the decision to invest here will be affected,” he said.
“So hindi ganoon kasimple ang ganitong parang wag na nating tanggapin lahat yan, etc. (Saying we won’t accept all these is not that simple),” he added.
Pangilinan said the Philippine action may also affect the millions of overseas Filipinos in the specified 18 countries, he said in a television interview.
“In fact, we have a huge overseas Filipino population in the three countries of UK, Italy, Australia alone. These countries are among the top 10 countries of destination for Filipinos,” he said.
As of 2013, Australia ranks number six with 397,982 overseas Filipinos; Italy, number seven with 271,946; and UK, number eight with 218,126, according to Commission on Filipinos Overseas.
The Philippine government has rejected foreign aid, loans, and grants from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Uruguay for backing the United Nations’ probe on drug-related killings.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Pangilinan said that the Philippines is further isolating itself from the rest of the international community.
“Let’s put this in the context of the UN Human Rights Council that called for an investigation into the almost-daily killings here in our country. The Iceland Resolution is part of that. There is a growing concern about what’s happening in the country and who should not be concerned?” Pangilinan explained.
The senator cited various figures, including that of Malacañang which said that the number of drug-related killings as of late December 2017 is over 20,000 already.
“This is, I believe, a step in the wrong direction,” Pangilinan said. “That’s most unfortunate. We hope the government will reconsider.”