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Senate panel to look into 'Build Build Build' status, financing

Senate panel to look into 'Build Build Build' status, financing
By Filane Mikee Cervantes
MANILA -- The Senate committee on economic affairs is set to conduct a public hearing on the status, sustainability, and risks of projects under the government's "Build, Build, Build (BBB)" program on Tuesday.

The panel, chaired by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, will look into the financial requirements of the BBB, as well as the loans entered into by government to fund the program.

Invited to the hearing are Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vivencio Dizon, among others.

Gatchalian, who filed Senate Resolution 759, stressed that the Senate must ensure that public funds diverted from health, education, and social services financing for debt services payment are properly appropriated.

"There is a need to closely monitor the debt obligations and modes of financing incurred and adopted by the Duterte administration for its “Build, Build, Build” program to ensure transparency, accountability, and prudent use of loans and other financing methods utilized by the government," Gatchalian said.

He said bulk of the approved infrastructure projects will be funded through official development assistance valued at PHP1 trillion.

He further noted that the total outstanding debt of the national government as of December 2017 reached PHP6.65 trillion, while around PHP329.05 billion was allotted for debt servicing in the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

He said concerns have been raised that the borrowed loan of the Duterte administration for its massive infrastructure program could lead to unsustainable debt levels due to onerous terms of the loans, such as exorbitant interest rates or the non-traditional loan scheme of holding natural resources as collaterals for loans.

The panel would also tackle Senate Resolution 628, which seeks to assess the possible impact of such loans on the country's economy and national security. (PNA)

Senate panel to look into 'Build Build Build' status, financing Senate panel to look into 'Build Build Build' status, financing Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 10:23:00 AM Rating: 5

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