By Jovee Marie de la Cruz, April 3 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to ABS-CBN News

WITH various loan agreements entered into by the Philippine government with the People’s Republic of China and other countries, a party-list lawmaker called for the creation of an Oversight Committee on Debt Management.

However, Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said Congress should conduct an inquiry into the country’s loan agreements with China pending the passage of his House Bill 8480 seeking to create a Congressional Oversight Committee on Debt Management.

“While we recognize the power given to the President when it comes to incurring loans meant to spur growth and promote equity in the provision of public services and benefits, we should ensure transparency and accountability on all government borrowings,” he said.

“Hence, I proposed the creation of a Congressional Oversight Committee on Debt Management to institutionalize an effective check and balance on the executive power to contract and guarantee loans,” the lawmaker added.

House Bill 8480 creates a Congressional Oversight Committee on Debt Management,
which shall pursue a debt management system that is available for public scrutiny and subject to strict adherence to existing pertinent laws, and rules and regulations.

The oversight committee shall look into all foreign and domestic borrowings negotiated, contracted or guaranteed by the President on behalf of the Philippines, as well as those by the government or government-owned and -controlled corporations.

Under the bill, the committee shall be composed of the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the Senate, and the House of Representatives and three additional members from each chamber to be designated by the Senate President and the House Speaker respectively. One of the said three additional members shall come from the minority of each chamber.

“We  need to ensure that our government’s limited resources shall be used appropriately, and that priority should be given to education, health care and other public services meant to promote the welfare of Filipinos,” Alejano said.

House Bill 8480 is pending in the House Committee on Ways and Means.