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Lagman slams Duterte admin’s ‘false pride’ in shunning foreign loans

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Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Saturday slammed the “false pride” of the Duterte administration following reports the President ordered all departments and agencies to reject loans and grants from 18 countries that backed an Iceland-led resolution to probe the human rights situation in the Philippines.

The opposition lawmaker said the decision is “inordinately ill-advised.”

“This false pride of the Duterte administration foisted to block the UNHRC (Human Rights Council) probe may ostracize the Philippines from concessional foreign finance and would conveniently justify the country’s availment of Chinese loans with much higher interest rates and shorter grace periods,” Lagman said.

He said the order to put on hold the signing and negotiation of loans and grants from human rights-protective states will jeopardize almost half a billion dollars’ worth of financing from countries like Australia, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Austria and some countries from the European Union including Spain.

In July the UN council approved a resolution to compile a comprehensive report on Duterte’s three-year campaign against illegal drugs.

The Philippines is a member of the UNHRC and it aggressively launched an unsuccessful lobby against the resolution, Lagman recalled.

“The foregone loans are earmarked for the development of infrastructure, trade and transport,” he said.

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