The Philippines is carefully studying whether to formally join as one of the founding members of China’s recently established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.
“We are part of the process, in fact we participated in several of the meetings but the President and the country have not made a decision whether we will join or not. What we are doing right now is making sure that we understand . . . and we have more information on AIIB,” Purisima said on the sidelines of the Euromoney Philippines Investment Forum held at Makati City on Tuesday.
The AIIB is an international financial institution proposed by the government of China. The purpose of the multilateral development bank is to provide finance to infrastructure projects in the Asia region.
On October 24, 2014, a signing ceremony held in Beijing formally recognized the establishment of the bank. Signatory-countries were China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
Purisima said that while the Philippines and other countries have signed for the establishment of the bank, the formal signing of the membership is really slated in June.
“[We are in] a process right now where the articles, the structure of the bank is being discussed. What is important is that its governance is inclusive rather than exclusive,” he noted.
The Department of Finance head also noted that before becoming a founding member, the Philippines will have to make sure that the AIIB will be not used for political purposes and does not compete but complements the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and other multilateral organizations.
“We are participants just like the rest of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations [Asean] countries. I think AIIB is an economic and financial institution and we should look at that vantage point,” he said.
Purisima stressed that the Philippines’ focus together with the rest of Asean is for the bank to able to help the region in its quest to have better infrastructure.
“As estimated by the Asian Development Bank, the whole region needs about $8 trillion [in infrastructure investment]over the next 10 years. That’s going to be the focus,” he further explained.