Malacañang taking Mahathir’s advice on Chinese loans

Pia Ranada
Malacañang taking Mahathir’s advice on Chinese loans

Malacañang Photo

The Duterte government's economic managers are 'evaluating all kinds of loans' from China, says Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang was receptive to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s warning on Chinese loans, saying the Philippines’ economic managers continue to carefully evaluate loan agreements before signing on.

“We will take his advice and the economic managers are evaluating all kinds of loans we are having with the Chinese government,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Monday, March 11, during a Palace news briefing.

Mahathir, Asia’s most senior statesman, had warned the Philippines about the consequences of entering into unfair loan deals with China. He had said this during an interview with ANC while he was in Manila for an official visit.

“If you borrow huge sums of money from China and you cannot pay – you know when a person is a borrower, he is under the control of the lender. So we have to be very careful with that,” he had said.

Mahathir had recalled his country’s own experience with China-backed infrastructure projects. He described some of them as “unfair.” Scrapping some of these projects was one of the first things he did after getting elected as prime minister in 2018.

Panelo gave assurances that President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic managers have concluded that the Philippines is so far “not at a disadvantage” when it comes to its dealings with China. (READ: What happens if the Philippines can’t pay off loans from China?) –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at