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Cayetano: PH's AIIB membership crucial to sustaining economic growth'
 
Senate foreign relations committee chair Senator Alan Peter S. Cayetano thanked his colleagues in the Senate for supporting the treaty that would make the Philippines a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).   
 
The Senate on Monday (December 5) passed on third and final reading Senate Resolution No. 241, or the Articles of Agreement of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which formally ratifies the country’s AIIB entry documents. The measure got 20 affirmative votes, one negative vote, and no abstention.

Cayetano’s Foreign Relations Committee submitted last November 22 Committee Report No. 11 recommending the approval of the resolution of concurrence.

Cayetano said the Senate’s concurrence with the treaty formalizing the country’s membership into the China-led multilateral institution will allow the Philippines access to funds for major infrastructure projects to sustain the momentum of economic growth that was started by the Duterte government.

“Any institution that will promote human development, accelerate economic and social progress, and further good relations with neighboring nations should be embraced and supported,” said Cayetano.

He expressed his gratitude to the Department of Finance led by Sec. Carlos Dominguez III and their counterparts in the Chinese government for their assistance, stressing how the treaty could foster a stronger relationship between the two countries. He also thanked Senator Loren Legarda, sponsor of the resolution, for making possible the passage of the measure.

Cayetano explained that, like the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Bank (WB), the AIIB is a multilateral funding agency owned by sovereign member-countries, which specifically aims to promote economic development and strengthen regional cooperation and partnership in the Asian region.

“Our economy has been cited recently as the fastest growing in the Asian region. We posted a robust 7.1% growth in the third quarter are on target to achieving a 7-percent full-year GDP growth this year,” he said.

The administration earlier expressed its plan to raise the government’s share in infrastructure spending to the gross domestic product (GDP) to 7 percent before President Rodrigo Duterte's term ends.

Following the Senate’s concurrence, the executive branch now has the chance to access US$500 million annually from the Bank to finance infrastructure projects in the country. This, he said, is apart from over $20 billion that China is prepared to extend to the Philippines after the President's historic visit to China.

 â€œAIIB’s role as a major player in infrastructure development in Asia in the future is inevitable, and the timing of our membership in AIIB cannot be more perfect as the Philippines is at the point of development where increasing our infrastructure capacity can no longer be set aside,” Cayetano said.

“As Asia’s fastest growing economy, we surely cannot afford to pass up on this opportunity to be able to tap an additional fund source to help sustain the economic progress we have started to gain under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte,” he added.

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