18 June 2007
Ref: Erin09193688555
Jeck – 09173200007
“No. It cannot just be simply looked at as ‘water under the bridge’. We have to learn our lesson and act accordingly with regard to how the decades of plunder of our economy, the untrammeled borrowings, the absence of transparency and accountability during the Marcos years have continued to extract their pound of flesh from our people,” said Representative Lorenzo “Erin R. Tañada after the last centavo of the $2.3 billion debt incurred from the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was paid April this year.
The young Tañada recalled how his grandfather former Senator Lorenzo M. Tañada stood and spoke up on 6 August 1983 saying, “Mr. Marcos and his nuclear advisers may well be long remembered for having put up the most expensive and dangerous nuclear power plant in the world, thereby saddling present and future generations of Filipinos with enormous foreign loans…,”
And indeed it was a heavy burden on our people with daily interest payments reaching a high of $300,000, it was by far the singular biggest ticket item among the list of onerous debts that were contracted during the Marcos era. During the 2007 budget deliberations, Erin Tañada called for the non-appropriation of the unsecuritized portion of the BNPP loan as well as the other behest Marcos loans as paying for them sends the wrong signal that it is alright to borrow imprudently, after all, government will be there to guarantee your liabilities.
“What saddens me most is we seem not to have learned our lesson. Almost 25 years after my grandfather warned against this, we can still easily rattle off a lot of stories of plunder, crony debts converted into public debts, capitalizing on sovereign guarantees – the Casecnan, the CBK-Impsa Project that transcends several administrations, the IPPs of the Ramos era, PNCC-Radstock compromise deal, the Northrail project under GMA,” Tañada lamented.
“Transparency and accountability seems to be too elusive in our system of governance which gives courage to plunderers to stick their dirty fingers into the cookie jar. But that should not be the case. Taxpayers’ money is being used to pay off these debts. The people have the right to know exactly what is the cause of our fiscal hemorrhage. An audit of all of our public debt is long overdue,” Tañada emphasized.
Tañada vowed to again support and push for a joint House and Senate Resolution calling for an audit of our public debt. The resolution actually quickly passed the House of Representatives during the 13th Congress but was not acted on by the Senate.

“Quickly passing the debt audit joint resolution would somehow define the character of the Senate and the House of Representatives in the forthcoming 14th Congress. I hope that both Chambers are able to muster the will and courage to rid us off the Marcosian tendencies of our government,” prayed Tañada.


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