Senate ratifies AIIB treaty

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THE Senate on Monday voted 20-1 to ratify the Articles of Agreement of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) formalizing the Philippines’ entry to the Beijing-led multilateral lending institution.

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“With 20 affirmative votes, one negative vote and no abstention, Senate Resolution 241 Under committee report No. 11 is approved on third and final reading,” Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd declared.

Senator Loren Legarda, who chaired the hearing of the Sub-Committee on Foreign Relations for the treaty, sponsored the committee report last week.

The AIIB describes itself as a “modern knowledge-based institution, which will focus on the development of infrastructure and other productive sectors in Asia, including energy and power, transportation and telecommunications, rural infrastructure and agriculture development, water supply and sanitation, environmental protection, urban development and logistics, etc.”

The Senate resolution states that the agreement “considers the importance of regional cooperation to sustain growth and promote economic and social development of the economies in Asia and thereby contribute to regional resilience against potential financial crises and other external shocks in the context of globalization.”

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, the lone dissenter, said she refused to sign the resolution because she believes that the country needs to verify first whether the loan agreements are in accordance with the principles on responsible sovereign lending and borrowing published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

“These principles make lenders responsible for making realistic assessments of the sovereign borrower’s capacity to service a loan based on the best available information and following objective and agreed technical rules on due diligence and national accounts,” Hotiveros explained.

The AIIB’s 57 members include China, India, Russia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
The Philippines signed the Articles of Agreement on December 31, 2015 in China.

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