The Daily Manila Shimbun


NGO vows to monitor AIIB’s projects in Philippines

June 8, 2017

A non-government organization vowed on Thursday to closely monitor all the projects to be funded by the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in the Philippines to ensure they would not be detrimental to the people and the environment. In a press conference, Luz Rio Ligthart of NGO Forum on ADB (Asian Development Bank), warned of some risks to be brought by AIIB's financial support to large projects in the Philippines. She said an increase in financing to large projects comes with potentially significant social and environmental risks. She also noted Chinese companies and financial institutions are still developing their capacities in dealing with such risks. "But, if risks are not managed appropriately, it could also lead to pollution, badly managed displacement, social conflict and political tensions," she said. The NGO said they were not against AIIB financing projects in the Philippines but Ligthart said there should be safeguard mechanisms in place. "We expect AIIB to have local grievance mechanism," said Ed Tadem from Freedom from Debt Coalition. He added that at the start of conceptualization of AIIB-funded project, the communities to be affected should immediately be consulted. During the 2017 AIIB Annual Meeting to be held in Jeju, South Korea on June 16-18, Ligthart said their group would submit their position paper on how the investment bank should implement its projects in the Philippines and other countries in the region. The NGO Forum on ADB is an Asian-led network of civil society organizations based in Asia and the Pacific region. It has been active since 1992. AIIB would co-finance with other multilateral lending agencies the Metro Manila Flood Management Project and the Edsa Bus Rapid Transit System. The Duterte administration is eyeing AIIB to finance also a dam project that will supply water in Metro Manila and a railway project from the National Capital Region to Albay province. (Celerina Monte/DMS)