Basagan ng Trip: Why we need to stop worrying about debt and pass the ARISE bill

Bookmark this page to watch the episode on Monday, August 3.

Two months ago, on June 4, the House of Representatives passed the P1.3-trillion stimulus package designed to help the economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic in the next 4 years. This is House Bill (HB) No. 6815 or the Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy of the Philippines (ARISE Philippines).

It is said to offer various forms of assistance to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and other key sectors affected by the COVID-19 crisis, while at the same time rebuilding consumer confidence. It is also expected to generate some 1.5 million jobs through infrastructure projects and financial assistance for small businesses between 2020 to 2023.

Now, according to data from the Department of Finance (DOF), the Philippines' loans from multilateral lenders, bonds, and grants have so far reached over $7.76 billion or around P388 billion as of July 21.

The economic managers expect lower tax collections or at least P90 billion in revenue shortfall, as businesses posted losses during the pandemic. The budget deficit would have to be covered by government's loans.

Experts say if we borrow too much, we may risk the economy falling into a debt trap. If we borrow too little, the economic interventions might not be enough to jolt the economy back to life. (READ: Duterte’s loans for coronavirus and why PH might need more)

In this episode, Southeast Asian Studies professor Leloy Claudio talks to economist Stella Quimbo, now Marikina City 2nd District Representative and ARISE bill primary author, on why Filipinos need to stop worrying about the country's growing debt. –