MANILA, Philippines - The country's outstanding debt stood at P5.381 trillion as of November 2012, which means every Filipino owed Philippine creditors P57,244.
The outstanding debt was 9.1% higher than the P4.932 trillion recorded as of November 2011. It was almost 3 times the government's 2013 national budget of P2.006 trillion.
The increase in domestic debt offset the decline in external.
Domestic debt rose by an annual 19.5% to P3.406 trillion as of end-November, while foreign debt fell 5.1% to P1.975 trillion.
Despite the increase, debt rating agency Fitch Ratings said the Philippines' public finances are now less of a drag on the country's sovereign credit profile.
It said with fast economic growth, the Philippines' debt-to-GDP ratio was expected to go down to 40.3% in 2012, at par with the country's peers.
"The Aquino administration's efforts to improve the quality and effectiveness of public expenditures are seen as supportive. While implementation of these efforts created an initial drag on GDP growth, improved fiscal transparency and reduced corruption leakages could help deliver longer-term benefits to the economy and address weaknesses elsewhere in the sovereign credit profile," Fitch said in a statement.
The government's outstanding debt represents securities issued to and loans obtained from various foreign and local lenders. It is spent for public expenditures such as education and health.
The Aquino administration's fiscal program set a debt stock of P5.52 trillion for 2012, and P5.91 trillion for 2013.
The Philippines borrows mostly to finance its budget deficit, which was targeted to hit P279 billion or 2.6% of GDP in 2012, and P241 billion or 2% of GDP this year.
The Philippines hopes to get its first investment grade status this year. Fitch and other rating agencies, Moody's and S&P, currently rate the country a notch below investment grade. - Rappler.com
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