Philippines’ Foreign Debt Payments Dwarf Relief Aid After Typhoon Haiyan
December 20th, 2013
More than a month after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, the country has paid approximately $900 million in debt repayments—more than twice as much as it’s received in pledged aid from countries around the world to support the recovery effort. The Philippines government will spend a total of $6.7 billion on debt repayments this year alone, some of which originates from the corrupt and abusive regime of Ferdinand Marcos, who was responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 Filipinos and the torture of 35,000.
Jubilee USA is calling for a major shift in debt policy vis a vis the Philippines. “The World Bank and international lenders have yet to cancel the debts that fueled Marcos regime corruption. While Filipinos were tortured and lived in poverty, we watched Marcos’s wife accumulating one of the world’s largest shoe collections,” said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network. “If these debts were cancelled they could rebuild the Philippines and safeguard the country from the impacts of climate change.”
The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan is now at more than 6,000 people, while nearly 2,000 people remain unaccounted for. Meanwhile, more than 4 million people have been displaced. ”The World Bank and other international lenders must be subject to an independent debt audit,” said LeCompte. “It’s also critical that lenders offer unconditional grants to the Philippines rather than loans that will further drive the country into poverty.”