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Philippines joins China-led AIIB

Filipino workers arrange metal rods at a government road project in suburban Quezon City. The government said it is joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, aimed at boosting infrastructure development and connectivity. AP/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines will officially join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), becoming its last member before the end of the year, the government announced on Wednesday.

"The Republic of the Philippines will be signing the Articles of Agreement (AOA) of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank before year-end, joining the newly created multilateral institution aimed at boosting infrastructure development and connectivity," the Department of Finance (DOF) said in a statement.

According to the DOF, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima was given authority by President Aquino to sign the AIIB Articles of Agreement. If unable to do so, Erlina Basilio, Philippine ambassador to China will sign the pact on behalf of the Philippines.

The authority was just given on Wednesday, two days before the deadline for prospective founding members (PFMs) to sign with AIIB.

The country will be the last of the 57 PFMs which have signified intention to join the AIIB early this year. The AIIB pact came into force on Christmas Day with the ratification of the agreement by 17 countries.

The AIIB will have a paid-in capital of $20 billion and total authorized capital of $100 billion.

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Days before the deadline, there was little sign the Philippines will join the Beijing-based multilateral lender seen to rival the US-led World Bank and the Japan-chaired Asian Development Bank.

The US and Japan have opted out of the AIIB for governance concerns, while the Philippines has weighed its options considering its ongoing territorial dispute with China.

It did not help also that the Permanent Court of Arbitration recently ruled it has jurisdiction to hear the Philippines' complaints against China on the West Philippine Sea. Beijing has denounced the hearings and would not participate.

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