MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ total outstanding debt breached the P12-trillion mark for the first time in January, as pandemic-related expenses continued to rise amid falling government income.
The Bureau of the Treasury on Friday, March 4, said the total debt increased by P301 billion or 2.6% from end-December. Compared to January 2021, debt grew 16.5%.
Of the total debt stock, 30.4% was sourced externally while 69.6% were domestic borrowings.
Domestic debt totaled P8.37 trillion, 2.4% or P197.38 billion higher compared to end-December. This was mainly due to the P300-billion provisional advances availed of by the government from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
External debt reached P3.66 trillion, P103.7 billion or 2.9% higher than end-December. The increment in external debt was due to the Philippine peso’s depreciation against the dollar, as well as the net availment of external obligations.
This is the Philippines’ largest debt pile so far, giving the next president tight room for borrowing.
However, economists and market analysts earlier said spending or where the money went is the bigger issue.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic team, led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, took a conservative stance amid the pandemic, borrowing less than what critics called for. – Rappler.com
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