Senators want transparency on deals signed with China

A number of senators have called on the Duterte administration make details of deals signed with China transparent and known to public.

“Of fundamental importance for undertakings involving numerous agreements and billions in dollars of funds are transparency and accountability,” Senator Grace Poe said.

“One of the agreements signed takes primacy because it involves exploration activities in Philippine territory, which is under dispute. It could not just be an economic issue, but a matter of sovereignty,” Poe added.

Senator Leila M. de Lima, in a separate statement, said “considering that the interests of China are totally opposed to ours, especially in respect to the West Philippine Sea issue, the government should always follow the principles of transparency and accountability which require that the terms of any deals or loan agreement be subjected for extreme scrutiny to protect our country’s economy and national security.”

“Alarmingly, MalacaƱang has not given the Filipino public a complete details about its Memorandum of Understanding with China aside from the number of deals signed and its title,” de Lima added.

Senator Chiz Escudero, in another statement, said he want the government to reveal to the public the details of all the bilateral agreements signed between the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China, particularly the deal on the joint exploration on the oil and gas reserves in the West Philippine Sea.

“Hinihiling natin sa ngalan ng sambayanan na ipagbigay-alam sa publiko lahat ng kasunduan na pinirmahan lalo na kaugnay sa joint exploration deal sa pagitan ng Pilipinas at China. Doon pa lamang at pagkatapos pa lamang siguro noon pwedeng mag-komentaryo ang sinuman kung tama nga ba ito at kung sang-ayon ba sila o hindi,” Escudero said.

Senator Risa Hontiveros said “the people need to scrutinize all these documents. We need to know whether or not these agreements are compatible with our sovereign and territorial interests and in full compliance with our international obligations, particularly the arbitral tribunal ruling on the West Philippine Sea.”