MANILA – Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto del Rosario on Thursday took a critical view at the widening financial relationship between the Philippines and China, warning of the perils of haphazardly incurring debts to fund its projects.
In a speech at a forum marking the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southehast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Makati, Del Rosario warned that in entering financial agreements with China without careful deliberation, the government might end up tying to debt the future of the next generation.
“There is little to separate our political disagreements with China and any financial relationship. By entering into weighty financial agreements, we may end up not only tying our own hands but also the hands of the next generation,” Del Rosario said.
Del Rosario also cautioned against bartering away sovereignty in exchange for financial aid from the Asian giant. He was the DFA chief in 2013 when Manila sued in a UN tribunal, invoking UNCLOS, over what it called “excessive” claims by Beijing in the South China Sea. The tribunal ruled in Manila’s favor on July 12, 2016, but there had been apprehension that President Duterte would not invoke the favorable ruling as he cozies up to China. The President has explained he did not mean to disregard the ruling and would invoke it at the proper time.