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Making China pay is long overdue

/ 05:02 AM July 30, 2020

In “Make China accountable for COVID-19” (Letters, 7/8/20), Stephen Monsanto urged the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to file class suits against China for the unabated spread of COVID-19, which has brought the whole world to its knees, including the Philippines. That is something long overdue. The Filipino people cannot continue to just suffer what is happening to this country in silence.

The Philippines stands indebted to China in the sum of $167 billion to finance President Duterte’s ambitious “Build, build, build” program. Under very onerous terms, that debt alone could easily balloon to over $300 billion, including interests, charges, penalties, or what-have-you. In pesos, that would amount to about P15 trillion, which surely the Philippines can never afford to repay. China’s obvious intent is not to be paid, but to take over this country in payment of that debt — all courtesy of Mr. Duterte’s “friendship” with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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In self-defense, the Filipino people can do a preemptive strike by demanding any outstanding part of that Chinese loan as compensation for the terrible things China’s COVID-19 has done to our country. If other countries have already commenced legal proceedings for compensation against China in their own jurisdictions, what is the Philippines waiting for? Never mind the Office of the Solicitor General, which has proven itself to be of service only to Mr. Duterte.

What about the IBP and other law associations run by “brilliant” lawyers in our midst? Haven’t they found the balls yet to do something about this clear injustice? And even if one may think of it as nothing but “suntok sa buwan” because China would only be laughing at us—as it did when the Philippines sued and even won the arbitration case against it in The Hague — it does matter that we are seen as standing in solidarity with the world in condemning China for its blunders and cover-ups relating to this pandemic.

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Carmela N. Noblejas
[email protected]

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TAGS: Letters to the Editor, Maritime Dispute, PH-China relations, Rodrigo Duterte, South China Sea, West Philippine Sea
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