MANILA, Philippines – Former National Treasurer Leonor Briones on Monday described as “pasikat and pangyabang” the government’s $1-billion contribution to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to assist other nations in financial distress.
Speaking to radio dzMM, Briones said she sees no need for the Philippines to lend out money to the IMF when it is still heavily in debt to other multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.
“Kanino ba tayo napgpapasikat, nagpapayabang? Naniniwala ba ang ibang bansa na creditor na ang Pilipinas dahil tayo ay nagpautang?” she asked.
She said the Philippines is not even considered a middle-income country compared to members of G20. She said other rich countries such as the United States, Australia and Germany have not lifted a finger to commit to the IMF eurozone fund.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. earlier said the $1 billion pledge to the IMF will earn interest while helping other countries beset with financial problems.
Briones, however, said she does not believe the country should touch its $76 billion reserves to lend to the IMF.
“I am not sure if we should touch our own reserves, which are for the protection of our economy, in order to protect huge economies whose responsibility led to their own problem,” she said.
She added: “I don’t think we are obligated because out economy is not that big. We are a heavy debtor country. Hindi maganda na we are borrowing money and then lend it out to the IMF.”
She also denied that the $1 billion pledge will make the Philippines “famous” and entice foreign investors. She said the biggest come-on for foreign investors is to remove corruption, fix governance, ensure a level playing field and improve accountability in the country.