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RISING DEBT | Philippines debt reaches 8.6 T pesos to fight COVID-19 pandemic
June 3, 2020 , 01:59 PM

(June 3, 2020) – The Philippines outstanding debt has swollen to 8.6 trillion pesos by end-April, with the national government borrowing more to respond to the coronavirus crisis in the country, treasury officials said on Tuesday.

The Bureau of Treasury said government borrowings has increased by 122.89 billion pesos or 1.5 percent from end-March from domestic securities issuance and external loan or foreign debt.

Domestic debt has reached to 5.8 trillion pesos, an increase of 50 billion pesos, or 0.9 percent from the end of March.

The agency said the country’s national debt has risen by 745 billion pesos in total since the start of 2020, a tumultuous year for the country.

Its external debt has also increased by 72 billion pesos, bringing the total to 2.7 trillion pesos.

“For April, net availment of external loans amounted to 87.3 billion pesos as part of the government’s effort to raise concessional financing to address the COVID-19 pandemic,” the treasury said.

By end-May, the Philippines secured a $500 million (25 billion pesos) from the World Bank, on top of another $750 million (37.6 billion pesos) from China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has also approved a $1.5 billion to the Philippines, which would translate to 75.2 billion pesos.

The finance department said, in total, the country’s loans in to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic has reached $4.55 billion (228 billion pesos), with majority coming from dual-tranche issuance of global bonds.

President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez to do everything to secure more funds for the coronavirus crisis in the country.

The Philippine leader in March secured a 275 billion pesos funding from Congress for efforts against the virus, but he has warned that state coffers may soon run dry and mulling to sell state assets.

The said fund was used on providing cash aid to some 18 million poor families whose work had stopped due to the lockdown in the capital region and throughout the country. (Christian de Lano Deiparine/MM)

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