Metro Manila, Philippines – Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno has warned the Senate that severing ties with Chinese contractors may cause delays in infrastructure projects in the wake of Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri’s call to blacklist Chinese contractors.

“Potential impact on the economy for possible delays in the projects that will be affected and of course we have to shift to the financing for those projects that have been requested from China,” Diokno said Wednesday.

According to Diokno, among those that will be affected are projects funded by Official Development Assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the World Bank.

“When it’s ADB project, any member country can compete in the bidding of the project,” he said. “If the Chinese contractor wins, we cannot do anything about that.”

Zubiri earlier called to exclude Chinese contractors in infrastructure projects as part of the country’s protest against China’s latest harassment of Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

“I think we all have to stand up with what’s happening in the West Philippine Sea. You have to make a policy decision,” Zubiri said before the Development Budget Coordination Committee.

“We also have to stand up for our troops in the West Philippine Sea, they should not be allowed to be bullied,” he added.

On Aug. 6, a China Coast Guard vessel blocked and fired water cannons at a Philippine vessel on its way to Ayungin Shoal for a resupply mission.