Philippines cautious in joining China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

MANILA, June 4 — The Philippines is cautiously studying whether or not to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) amid the country’s huge need for more infrastructure, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Wednesday.

“The Philippines, like any other country, has tremendous infrastructure needs,” the President said during the question-and-answer portion of the Nikkei 21st International Conference on the Future of Asia, held at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo, Japan. He specified the country’s need for an improved mass transportation system in the capital region.

On the website of the China-led AIIB, flags of countries, current and prospective members, which include the Philippines.

“We have not indicated that we are ready to join also. We are actually under the stage—at the stage of studying the proposal to join this particular new entity,” he said.

The President said the country had a bad experience on concessional loans, saying that “The drawdowns from these loans 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.”

The Philippine government, he said, 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.

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