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Claim: The Duterte administration’s agreement with China for the Philippines’ Build, Build, Build infrastructure program supposedly requires that 3% would be the interest rate for loans, 60% of the workforce should be Chinese, and 100% of the equipment to be used should be Chinese imports.
The Facebook page “Silent No More PH” published a photo containing those details last Monday, July 2. Its caption suggests that the loans are “one-sided” in favor of China, and claims that the future of the next generation is in peril.
As of Wednesday morning, July 4, the post has gotten more than 2,000 reactions and nearly 2,000 shares.
The facts: Only the interest rate is correct. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia had said on February 21 that China’s loans have a 2% to 3% interest rate. He compared China’s loans with those from Japan, which have interest rates of 0.25% to 0.75%.
Pernia later said on June 27 that the Philippines is “cautious” in dealing with China. (READ: [OPINION] What scares me the most about China’s new, ‘friendly’ loans)
Meanwhile, there are no pronouncements yet for the specifics of the workforce and source of equipment for various Build, Build, Build projects.
Only the P4.37-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in Kalinga has been started. The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the project would generate at least 14,784 jobs for Filipinos. Chinese contractors will lead the project.
China has also committed to fund the following projects, so far: the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), and the North-South Railway Project (NSRP)-South Line of the Department of Transportation.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian had sought a probe into the P8.4-trillion Build, Build, Build program through his Senate Resolution No. 759 filed on June 17.
Detained Senator Leila de Lima also filed Senate Resolution No. 751 on May 29, calling for a probe into the “influx of Chinese nationals” in the Philippines.
Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano also filed House Resolution No. 1612 on January 24, urging Duterte to disclose all loan conditions under Build, Build, Build.
The page “Silent No More PH” has been fact-checked before by Vera Files. They called out the page for using the wrong context for a photo in a May 28 post. The photo was described as a presidential meeting with “top leaders” following a series of scandals involving public officials, but it was a meeting with Bangsamoro leaders. (READ: 10 tips on how to spot fake news from Facebook) – Miguel Imperial, with a report from Ralf Rivas/Rappler.com
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