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PH can’t just sign away rights on national territory, Angara says amid China loan controversy

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

SAN JOSE, Antique – Reelectionist administration bet Sen. Sonny Angara has cautioned against ceding the country’s territorial rights as collateral for loans with the Chinese government.

Angara’s statement came in response to the pronouncement made by Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that China could unilaterally seize natural gas deposits along the disputed Reed Bank (Recto Bank) which is within bounds of the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) if the Philippines is unable to pay the US$62-million Chinese loan for the Chico River Irrigation Loan Agreement.

In an ambush interview in San Jose, Antique, Angara said the government can’t just simply give up its rights over natural resources if it is unable to pay its debt with the Asian superpower.

“When it comes to national territory, we do not cede our rights because that is something that the present and future generations can enjoy… hindi natin basta basta sina-sign away ‘yung rights natin on national territory,” said Angara.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier stated that there was othing wrong with using natural resources as collateral for debt since it was the usual practice.

But Angara didn’t agree with Panelo’s pronouncement.

“It does not sound familiar to me. It seems unusual,” Angara said.

He stressed that Congress, as part of its oversight powers, can review every provisions of the loan agreement.

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