MISLEADING: Filipinos each owe P62,000 in debt ‘because of PNoy’

The original Inquirer article, which cites the Freedom from Debt Coalition, refers to the total national debt, not the debt incurred solely by the Aquino administration

A screenshot of a blog post that incorrectly attributes national debt solely to former president Benigno Aquino III.

Claim: Each Filipino owes P62,000 in national debt because of former president Benigno Aquino III.

The claim was made on the blog world-news-crawler.blogspot.com on their post, which was titled “Because of PNOY, each Filipino owes ‘Roughly P62,000′ in utang (debt).”

The blog does not have a publish date.

The content of the blog is an actual report from Inquirer.net titled “Aquino successor to inherit P6.4-T national debt, says antidebt group,” published on February 20, 2016.

According to Crowdtangle, the post has been re-posted on Facebook 51 times, accumulating 32,311 shares, 18,441 reactions, and 4,411 comments on the platform.


The facts: The world-news-crawler.blogspot.com post was incorrect to attribute the entire amount of national debt to the Aquino administration. (READ: FALSE: Pie chart of Philippines’ national debt under 3 presidents)

The Inquirer article was refering to all the debt that the Philippines has accumulated – this is not solely due to the Aquino administration.

The original article on the Inquirer cited the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) as saying that Aquino’s successor will inherit P6.4 trillion in debt. They estimated this figure would amount to P62,000 for each Filipino, but the article did not go into detail on the figures used for this computation.

The FDC’s debt estimates in February 2016 were close to the actual figures from June 2016, the month Aquino’s term ended. At the end of Aquino’s term in June 2016, total debt (actual debt and guaranteed debt) amounted to P6.511 trillion.

But it was inaccurate for the blog to present national debt as a “share” incurred by each president. According to economist JC Punongbayan, the government’s debt is the unpaid balance of loans and debt securities, domestic or external. It’s a “running total” of how much the country owes.

In order to compare debt between presidents, one must look at the net increase to the debt during their respective terms.

Total debt at the end of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s term in June 2010 was P5.192 trillion. Total debt at the end of Aquino’s term in June 2016 was P6.511 trillion. As such, the net increase in debt during Aquino’s term was P1.319 trillion. – Vernise L. Tantuco/Rappler.com

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