Opposition solon warns vs rejecting loans from states critical of drug war


Posted at Sep 22 2019 11:10 PM

MANILA - An opposition lawmaker on Sunday warned the government against rejecting loans from nations which backed the UN resolution seeking a probe into the country's human rights situation amid the anti-narcotics drive. 

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said refusing these loans was counterproductive as it will further isolate the Philippines from the international community and push the country into the so-called Chinese debt trap.

"Those 16 countries that signed the resolution, among those countries are some of our biggest donors, in fact. For example, Australia and the United Kingdom... I think this will not be good for the country," Zarate said in an interview with ANC.

For Zarate, the government should not reject loans from anti-drug war countries and instead, welcome any investigation on it "if the country has nothing to hide in its campaign against drugs." 

Rejecting loans from anti-drug war countries will also push the Philippines to borrow more from China, Zarate added.

"The message that the Philippines is saying now is we will be pushed to, for example, we will just rely on our aid and loans from, for example, China and we will be further thrown into that so-called debt trap," he said.

Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Sunday defended a reported Palace order for the halt of negotiations on loans and grants from countries that backed an Iceland-led UN investigation into government's war on drugs.

"That's because we don't want to borrow money from those whose defense of the drug trade and attacks on anti-drug trade campaigns make us mighty suspicious about where the money's coming from," Locsin tweeted.

Malacañang, however, denied the reported memorandum Friday, saying Duterte has not issued one.

With 18 countries in favor, the UN Human Rights Council approved a resolution last July to compile a sweeping review on Duterte's drug war, which led to the deaths of 6,700 people, in what police say were shootouts with dealers who resisted arrest.