Philippines, with great need in infrastructures, non-committal in joining China-led financial institution

The Philippines with great need on infrastructures, specifically improved mass transportation system, is cautious in joining the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). “We have not indicated that we are ready to join also. We are actually at the stage of studying the proposal to join this particular new entity,” President Benigno S. Aquino III told reporters present during a question-and-answer segment of Nikkei 21st International Conference on the Future of Asia held at Hotel Okura in Tokyo, Japan May 4.

“The Philippines, like any other country, has tremendous infrastructure needs,” Aquino noted.

Noting draw-downs from concessional loans during Arroyo-administration “were demanded very, very early that potentially could have led us to a cross-default, and we are studying the invitation to join the AIIB. We have to determine whether or not it is a net positive or not,” he added.

He added that the Philippine government is also looking into the governance structure of the AIIB and is trying to determine whether its economic assistance will not be subjected to the vagaries of politics between the Philippines and China, the lead proponent of the AIIB.