by Bernie Lopez
There are two ominous warnings on the Chinese invasion of the Philippines. The first was a prophecy of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace, who said, “Pray hard, for China’s dream is to invade the whole world. The Philippines is one of its favourites.” [This warning] was given to visionary Sister Teresing Castillo in Lipa way back in October 17, 1949. It was not until 65 years later, when it was revealed to media by then former Archbishop of Lipa Ricardo Cardinal Vidal. (Source: Inquirer, July 13, 2014).
The second warning came from Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, who said to the Philippines during his recent state visit, “If you borrow huge sums of money from China, and then you cannot pay, the borrower is under the control of the lender. So, we have to be very careful about that.” He was referring to China’s debt-trap diplomacy. Mahathir’s warning echoes the Marian prophecy, implying that it is not necessarily a military invasion.
What is debt-trap Diplomacy?
Debt-Trap Diplomacy (DTD) simply means a rich country offering massive loans to a poor country to control key economic and financial infrastructure in its favor to the detriment of that country. It is easier, cheaper and faster to strangle weak Third World
nations into submission this way than to send warships and troops.
China’s sudden massive DTD global presence includes mega-projects in Sri-Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives, Djibouti, and many African nations, and now the Philippines. In Sri Lanka, the government ceded control of a strategic China-funded port in Habamtota due to loan default. In Djibouti and many resource-rich African nations, the big loans for infrastructure are collateralized by mining rights, which will use the very roads China financed. How many ports and infrastructure projects does China have in the Philippines, what are the conditionalities, and who will benefit? Are they over-borrowings or justifiable?
It is the same approach of Western mining multinationals in partnership with lending institutions. DTD is actually an age-old practice among Western nations, through the World Bank-USAID-ADB and other consortia in partnership with multinationals. Whereas the Western approach is subtler, the China DTD model is alarmingly more blatant and faster. China is now doing that blatantly in a matter of a year or two through massive loans. Now, the Western media points a finger at China on a crime the West has been doing for decades. (Source: issafrica.org/sri-lanka).
There are many factors in the speed of China’s strangulation. First, cash-strapped nations like the Philippines have a natural hunger and greed for loans, hence unjustified borrowings are easily approved. China knows the Philippines is corrupt with a capital ‘C’. The ZTE fiasco in 2007 was a clear example of the impact of corruption of both lender and borrower. A government deal of a whopping US$330 million (Php16.5 billion) with ZTE of China was aborted when a bribery scandal was exposed in the Senate. ZTE is the tip of the iceberg.
The practice continues today under different names and programs. Government people are hounded to approve loans. The invasion goes full swing.
Second, China is oozing with capital from unprecedented growth. If this money is not re-invested, China’s economy will crash. There is extreme pressure to look for investment opportunities, by hook or by crook, especially in poor countries rich in resources much needed to maintain growth.
Filipinos are now just beginning to be wary of the dangers of foreign control. There is a look-out for foreign-funded media and foreign-owned firms in politically sensitive areas such as utilities, roads, railways, and mining. There is fear that the massive entry of Chinese labor, legal and illegal, estimated at 300,000, is denying employment to Filipinos and may cause social unrest.
Mahathir’s warnings jive with the Mediatrix prophecy. Filipinos must resort more to prayers rather than bullets as the key to peace. The US carriers in the South China Sea are not the solution but the problem. The Lord protects His people who are under His wings, as in Jericho and Sodom and Gomorrah. The prayer to Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace does not ask for the ‘conversion’ of China to Catholicism. It asks for China’s goodwill rather than dominance (DTD) in dealing with poor nations. Everybody must benefit from development, rich and poor. Ω