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Malabo ‘yan: Atienza allays Robredo’s fear of ‘foreign debt trap’

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Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza allayed the concern raised by Vice President Leni Robredo that the Philippines might get entangled in a foreign debt trap by borrowing a huge amount of money from other countries.

“We do not see the (Philippine) government getting into a situation wherein it incurs too much external debt that suddenly becomes difficult or impossible to repay,” Atienza said in a statement.

“We have no problem with borrowing money, regardless whether it is from Japan, China or South Korea, as long as the government spends the funds on sensible and beneficial projects,” he added.

Robredo has warned that the Philippines might fall into a debt trap if the government borrows money indiscriminately, especially from China.

But Atienza said he won’t see this happening even if the government embarks on an P8-trillion economic infrastructure-spending binge to make up for a massive backlog.

“If we are talking of infrastructure such as trains, expressways and bridges — these will all help to provide new employment, enable goods and people to move faster at a lower cost, and further stimulate overall economic growth,” the politiko explained.

He said growth in turn would translate to a larger economic asset from which government is bound to collect incremental tax income.

“Surely the administration will not obtain a project loan from a foreign government at a higher interest rate, if the same credit can be procured elsewhere at a lesser rate,” the former Manila mayor said.

“We are also counting on the National Economic Development Authority to rigorously screen and ascertain the feasibility of every project before it is approved for possible foreign funding,” he added.