Two foreign loans suspended under Duterte's order

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2019 12:24 PM

MANILA - A foreign loan supporting the Philippines’ bus rapid transit program and another meant to fund studies on climate change were affected by the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to “suspend“ loans and grants from countries that sponsored and backed an inquiry into the Philippine war on drugs, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said Wednesday.

Dominguez said the BRT loan from France costs 21 million euros (P1.2 billion), while a German loan on climate change studies costs $46 million (P2.4 billion). The 2 loans amount to about P3.6 billion, he said during the Senate budget hearing for the finance department.

"We have already found a substitute for that portion, so that is no trouble… We can get very similar terms from a multilateral agency,” Dominguez said of the French loan.

He added the government is also now looking for funding substitute for the German loan.

Dominguez said aside from the two loans, “we have nothing on our plate for other agencies or countries that are live negotiations.”

France and Germany sponsored the Iceland-led United Nations resolutions which sought a review of the Philippines’ war on drugs, but they were not among the 18 countries which voted in favor of it.

The Palace has described the resolution as “designed to embarrass” the Philippines.

Rights groups have claimed that tens of thousands have died in the Philippine government's drug war. Police, meanwhile, said the death toll is below 6,000.

The government has repeatedly denied involvement in summary killings, saying drug suspects slain in police operations had resisted arrest.