Singapore refuses to repay PH loans under Marcos regime

Singapore ruled in favor of the Philippine National Bank, rejecting the Philippine government’s claim over Marcos’ $23.7 million ownership of the Singapore branch of German bank WestLB

In one look
  • Claim: Singapore refuses to reimburse the loans contracted in the Philippines under the regime of Ferdinand Marcos.
  • Evaluation: FALSE
  • Facts: Singapore’s refusal to pay did not relate to loans but to a decision by their high courts to reject the Philippine government’s claim on the accounts of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Singapore branch of German bank WestLB.
  • Why did we check this: The claim was made on a video posted on a Facebook page named “Khopars VLOG” on January 20, 2022. At the time of writing, the video has over 53,000 reactions, 764,000 views and 3,900 comments.
Full Details

On January 20, 2022, Facebook page “Khopars VLOG” uploaded a video with the caption: “Listen to noon from Hindi ibinalita. Why not use Marcoses? Singapore can pass the pala to Pilipinas at noon?(What hadn’t been reported before has been revealed. Why do people love the Marcos? Turns out that Singapore has already borrowed money from the Philippines?)

The video features a man claiming that the Prime Minister of Singapore at the time of Ferdinand Marcos had received advice and loans from the dictator, and that Singapore would not repay those loans on the grounds that the funds were ill-gotten.

This statement is false.

On December 30, 2013, the Singapore Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the National Bank of the Philippines to hold in trust $16.8 million (745.9 million pesos, based on the rate of $1 = 44 ₱.4 that day) and £4.2 million ($6.7 million or 298.3 million pula; £1 = $1.6).

The funds totaled 23.5 million dollars (1.05 billion pula). These funds would have been the ill-gotten wealth that Marcos had hoarded and deposited at the Singapore branch of the German bank WestLB.

Among those who claimed this account were the Philippine government, victims of human rights abuses during the dictatorship, and various other foundations and corporations.

An article in Esquire Philippines cited Lee Kuan Yew’s opinions of Marcos, based on his memoir. He said that in August 1983, Trade and Industry Minister Marcos tried to apply for a loan of 300 to 500 million dollars (3.3 to 5.5 billion pesos; $1 = 11, 0 pesos in August 1983). Yew said that at that time, banks in Singapore were already funding around $8 billion in Philippine debt.

Accounts like this go against the video’s claim that the Philippines was a creditor to the Singapore government during the Marcos dictatorship.

As of September 30, 2021, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported that the Philippines owed Singapore $1.5 billion (76.6 billion pesos; $1 = 51.1 pesos as of September 30, 2021) in debt. – Renzo Arceta/Rappler.com

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