It’s the ‘IMF-WB debt trap,’ stupid!

THERE has been a wealth of disinformation, masquerading as “news” and “expert opinions,” that we Filipinos get to pick up regularly these days all of which are aimed at derailing our reinvigorated relationship with China.

And the biggest nonsense of them all, insofar as yours truly is concerned, is this so-called ‘China debt trap.’

For the fact of the matter is that, yes, Juan, we are heavily indebted for so many generations now but not because we borrowed so much from China but because we got entangled in the debt trap engineered by Western Imperialism thru the riding-in-tandem of the IMF and the WB.

Thanks to ‘Google’ and other search engines in the Internet, we no longer have to read tons of scholarly works to know for ourselves that debt burden that has enslaved us from the start and thus ensure that we remain an agricultural economy for generations more to come is because of the IMF-WB debt trap.

This sordid fact is a no-brainer that one is left to conclude that the cadres of the CPP-NPA and those in their front organizations are guilty of ‘selective memory’ for now downplaying the insidious role of the IMF-WB in our country’s misery and now focusing their “warnings” about this bogey of the ‘China debt trap.’

Looking back, it was Pres. Diosdado Macapagal who started our road-to-perdition relationship with the IMF-WB; by the time Pres. Ferdinand Marcos took office in 1965, Macapagal, thanks to IMF-WB “advise,” turned over to him over $677 million in foreign debt.

All through the reign of Marcos, was it not the fighting the onerous impositions of the IMF-WB among the “demands” of the student activists?

When Marcos hurriedly left in 1986 on the weight of the conspiracy against him by a faction in the US government and our local elites bannered by one of their own, Corazon Aquino, he also left behind a total debt of over $60 billion, of which about $28 billion are foreign debt.

At the time, the opportunity was there for the country to make a fresh start insofar as our debt crisis is concerned, given the wide support of ‘Tita Cory’ from almost all quarters of the globe.

But hey, Marcos got the boot from our imperialist masters because he has become a liability so much so that our IMF-WB lenders are not sure how the Philippines can still manage to pay its debts without the country breaking apart and the CPP-NPA taking over Malacañang. He has to go.

And so, with their anointed ‘Corazon’ now in place, our foreign creditors under the aegis of the IMF-WB can only jump in glee as instead of repudiating the debts that Marcos incurred -- and for which he was regularly excoriated by Cory and the Reds especially during the snap election campaign -- Noynoy’s mother decided to “honor” all those $60 billion debts that Marcos left behind, and of course, the billions more in “interest” those debts represent.

That decision, of course, was wholly expected of Corazon Aquino, who was, to stress the point, another elite doing the bidding of her fellow elites. And that “commitment” she made on her first months as president in 1987

That “commitment” of Corazon Aquino, dear readers, is the reason why, today, we remain heavily in debt as it ensured continued control by the IMF-WB of our economy.

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Having made the right decision to adopt an independent foreign policy on the basis of being ‘friend to all and enemy to none,’ we are now given a fresh opportunity to rescue our economy and prepare a better future for all, especially with the help of China.

Looking back, China and the Philippines has always been friends and trading partners, even predating the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 by several hundred years.

Why we want to squander this healthy relationship because of the West’s machinations and in order to continue serving their mainly financial interests (their debt trap) is really beyond comprehension.

During last week’s Senate hearing on the government’s ‘Build Build Build’ centerpiece program, our finance officials bared that our loans from China only constitutes to about 4.5 percent of our total foreign debt—the rest we owed to Japan and yes, Juan, to Western foreign lenders “arranged” (again) by the IMF-WB.

More importantly, it was reported in that hearing that for the Chico Dam project in particular, China even agreed to give us a ‘grace period’ of several years before we actually start paying the loan of P10.9 billion (about $218 million).

From ‘Wikipidea,’ we gather that as of 2018, our total foreign debt is around $76.415 billion, translating to a debt-to-GDP ratio of about 23.5 percent. I am no economic wizard but anyone with a rational mind in banking would tell you that ratio is “manageable” by any account.

As our finance officials are not expected to lie during a Senate inquiry, that 4.5 percent of our foreign debt we owe to China at the present would just be more or less, $340 million—far less than the $677 million the IMF-WB saddled us when Macapagal left in 1965.

Prior to this, in May 2017, an article at Forbes magazine written by Anders Corr claimed that China would impose on us an interest rate ranging from 10 to 20 percent. This article is meant to ‘terrorize’ us into not taking any loan from China—so we can remain in the firm grasp of the IMF-WB.

But heck, the facts are now clear. If there is any debt trap that we have to worry about, it should be the debt trap we are in right now—the IMF-WB debt trap, stupid!