China repeating mistakes of past international creditors: civil society group

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 28 2019 06:29 PM

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MANILA - A civil society group on Sunday said China was repeating the mistakes of international creditors from the 1970s by imposing "conditionalities" on its loans.

Lidy Nacpil, coordinator Asian People's Movement on Debt and Development, said that like in the 1970s, China has been imposing conditionalities on its loans such as choosing Chinese companies and workers for China-funded projects.

Nacpil said that while China offers lower interest rates for its loans compared to market rates, commercial banks would never tell borrowers what company to hire or which nationalities should work on a project.

"It's because China has not learned from the many critiques that some of the governments in Europe have already taken heed," Nacpil said in an interview with ANC.

Nacpil also said Filipinos should be wary of China's financing for energy projects which tend to favor coal plants and massive hydroelectric projects.

While coal itself is being phased out in China because of environmental concerns, Chinese companies that have invested in coal have been looking at other countries, she said.

Large dams and hydroelectric projects, like the controversial Kaliwa dam in Quezon province, meanwhile, displace communities and flood forests.

Instead of these energy projects, Nacpil said China should be looking at helping the Philippines move to renewables.

"If China can help the Philippines build a robust renewable energy system, but of course we have to negotiate good financial terms for it, then why not?"