The Makabayan bloc of lawmakers led by senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares said the loan agreement, which was signed in November 2017 with the Export-Import Bank of China and to be implemented by China Energy Engineering Corp., should be declared null and void.
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Void Kaliwa Dam project, SC asked
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - May 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) was asked yesterday to strike down the government’s $211.21-million loan agreement with China for construction of the Kaliwa Dam.

The Makabayan bloc of lawmakers led by senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares said the loan agreement, which was signed in November 2017 with the Export-Import Bank of China and to be implemented by China Energy Engineering Corp., should be declared null and void. 

The petitioners sought the issuance of a temporary restraining order to stop the implementation of the project.

They said the SC should also order the government to submit all documents pertaining to the dam project as well as other loan agreements with China.

Last month, Makabayan questioned also before the SC the $62-million loan agreement with China for the Chico River Irrigation project in the Cordilleras.

“The confidentiality clause in the Preferential Buyer’s Credit Loan Agreement is a brazen disregard of the constitutional right of the Filipino people to information on foreign loans obtained or guaranteed by the government, and is considered inimical to the national interest,” the petition read.

The agreement violates Section 20, Article 7 of the Constitution, which requires prior approval by the Monetary Board, the petitioners added.

“The choice of the laws of China as the governing law of the agreement and the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center as the tribunal circumvents Section 7 of Article 2 of the Constitution,” the petitioners said.

They said the loan agreement, which awarded the project to a pre-selected Chinese contractor, violates the constitutional preference to qualified Filipinos and procurement laws.

The agreement is an “express waiver of sovereign immunity over the state’s assets in favor of a foreign government,” which also violates the Constitution, Makabayan said.

The Department of Finance justified the loan agreement, saying it has an interest rate of only two percent per annum compared to the three percent slapped on the $116.6-million deal for the Angat Dam projects during the Arroyo administration.

While both loan agreements have a maturity period of 20 years, the Kaliwa Dam deal has a longer grace period of seven years compared to Angat Dam’s five years.  

KALIWA DAM SUPREME COURT
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