Distrust of China is 'misplaced,' says Filipino-Chinese business group


Posted at Apr 08 2019 09:28 AM | Updated as of Apr 08 2019 09:29 AM

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MANILA -- Distrust of China is "misplaced," the new head of the Filipino-Chinese business chamber said Monday, as Manila increasingly taps Beijing for loans and investments.

Four in 10 Filipinos don't believe that China wants what's "good" for the Philippines, according to a Dec. 16 to 19 Social Weather Stations poll released last Thursday.

Concerns have also been raised about the terms of loans from China for infrastructure projects and the influx of Chinese workers in offshore gaming and construction.

"The distrust is really misplaced if you ask me," Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Henry Lim Bon Liong said.

"You have to look at the big picture, these loans are going to be paid back in a long period of time," Lim told ANC's Early Edition.

As long as the loans are used to build infrastructure, "it's going to be fine. It's going to pay us handsomely, said Lim, whose businesses include Sterling Paper and hybrid rice producer SL Agritech.

Lim takes over as president of the 65-year-old federation at the midpoint of the term of President Rodrigo Duterte, who sought closer economic and diplomatic ties with China instead of highlighting disputes in the South China Sea.

The third-generation Filipino-Chinese likened his situation to having China as a "biological father" and the Philippines as a "foster father."

One challenge is preventing "friction" between Filipino Chinese and incoming businessmen from mainland China.