MANILA- The Philippines did not offer any of its natural resources as collateral in securing the Chico River irrigation loan agreement from China, the Department of Finance clarified Tuesday.
Finance Asec. Tony Lambino made the clarification in light of a warning from Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that Beijing could seize oil and gas-rich Philippine assets in the South China Sea if the country reneged on payment for the $62 million loan.
"Wala po tayong dineclare na kahit anong collateral sa loan agreement na 'yan," Lambino told radio DZMM.
(We did not declare any collateral in the loan agreement.)
The loan agreement was signed by Manila and Beijing on April 10, 2018 but critics have warned of the allegedly onerous deal.
Lambino assured Filipinos that Philippine assets concerning national defense, diplomatic ties, and those used for public purpose or to develop national wealth cannot be seized by China.
"Anything that is governmental ay di po kasama (is not included)," he said.
China could only seek "patrimonial assets" as collateral in the event that the Philippines fails to pay the loan. Patrimonial assets refer to properties owned by the Philippines in its private capacity.
"Ang maaari lang maging subject ng arbitration and again there is no assurance that the creditor country will get any of these--patrimonial assets," Lambino said.
(The only assets that can be subject of arbitration are patrimonial assets and there is no asurance that the creditor country will get any of these.)
Malacañang on Monday stressed that Manila has never defaulted on any loan agreement so the possibility of Beijing taking its assets "will never happen."
"It's not a possibility kasi we will never naman renege. Kaya sila (economic managers) pumasok d'yan kasi alam nila na hindi mangyayari," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
(They entered that agreement because they know that it won't happen.)
"It will never happen kasi nga we always pay saka ang liit lang naman (it's just a small amount)," he added.