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Legarda: Belt and Road Initiative Can Bring Increased Trade, Infra Investments to PH

April 21, 2018

Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, today said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) could bring in a multitude of benefits to the Philippines, particularly in trade and infrastructure investments.

Legarda, Alternate Head of the Philippine Delegation to the 2018 Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C., made the statement after attending the High-Level Roundtable on Maximizing the Development Impact of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The BRI is a development strategy proposed by the Government of China to improve stronger economic cooperation among countries through a network of maritime routes and land infrastructure. It will usher in huge investments for infrastructure projects across Asia, Africa, and Europe.

“The Philippines’ participation in the Belt and Road Initiative is of strategic timing and importance.  It can help raise our competitive game to meet our challenges,” said Legarda.

“However, national interests dictate that key considerations be carefully studied and addressed as we approach and give our full support and cooperation to this ambitious project,” she stressed.

The Senator said that a key consideration that the country’s economic managers need to address is if the projects we are contemplating under the BRI are strategically positioned in the context of the “Build, Build, Build” Program.

“How can the BRI help the country achieve sustainability, reliance, and reliability in energy and transportation, which are two sectors facing some of the biggest challenges in our society today? We also need to ensure that funding of projects under the BRI, which will certainly form part of the country’s debts, are undertaken well within the safety levels,” said Legarda, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Finance.

Legarda explained that the country’s participation in the BRI needs to be consistent with its infrastructure and sustainable development plans, otherwise, “it could distract us from the much needed focus we need in order to fulfill our economic and development goals in the short- to medium-term.”

“If done right, the BRI will help bring significant benefits to the Philippines in the form of increased trade and investments in infrastructure.  With the right set of policies and effective implementation of projects, these can contribute to achieving a more inclusive growth that benefits all,” Legarda concluded.