“Development Banks” Are Ruining the Philippines: Billions of Dollars Deeper in Debt with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank

Groups demanding the cancellation of Philippine debts delivered luggage full of questionable loan contracts and conditionalities to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who is visiting the country from July 14 to 15.

“Goodbye, Mr. Kim, and take your oppressive loans with you,” chanted members of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and Focus on the Global South during a staged send-off for “nuisance visitor” Mr. Kim.

The groups, denouncing new World Bank loans for recovery efforts in typhoon-devastated areas, said that the Philippines needs grants, not enlargement of its debts, to recover from the death and destruction caused by super-typhoon Yolanda.

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“We are now almost a billion dollars deeper in debt with the World Bank, and another billion with the Asian Development Bank. These so-called development banks have shamelessly lent to a country devastated by the effects of climate change while still hell-bent on collecting interest payments and principal amortization for Philippines debts, including those that did not benefit the people. These new loans should be revoked,” said Sammy Gamboa, FDC Secretary-General.

According to FDC and FGS, conditionalities attached to World Bank loans have denied the Filipinos access to their resources for decades. These policies have compelled the Philippines to prioritize debt service over spending for essential services. This is why the Marcos legacy of automatic appropriations for debt payments has been kept by the 1987 Administrative Code.

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