Philippine gov’t debt soars to P11.93 trillion in November

BANKNOTE. The P1,000 bill made of cotton and abaca. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) plans to pilot-test starting in the first half of 2022 the use of P1,000 polymer notes, a move opposed by the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority and the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries and a watchdog.

MANILA – The Philippine government’s debt hit P11.93 trillion in November,  P1.8 trillion or 17.7 percent higher than the debt ofthe same month last year, the Bureau of Treasury reported.
The government’s debt was only P5.95 trillion when  President Rodrigo Duterte took over in 2016. This means that the country’s debt more than doubled during Duterte’s administration.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has said that the government expects to borrow P3 trillion more this year, and P2.25 trillion next year.
The Philippines has been borrowing heavily to finance its COVID-19 response and its “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.

The  debt was slightly lower, by P39.7 billion, compared to October primarily due to the net redemption of domestic securities and favorable foreign exchange rates, the treasury bureau  said.

Since the start of 2021, the country has added nearly P2.14 trillion to its debt, data from the treasury bureau showed.

Domestic debt amounted to P8.44 trillion in November. Since January this year, domestic debt has increased by P1.75 trillion.

Foreign debt, meanwhile, totaled P3.49 trillion. From the start of the year, external debt has increased by P390 billion.

Last week, the treasury bureau also reported that the Philippines’ 2021 budget deficit had risen to P1.3 trillion as of November, surpassing the budget gap registered in the same period last year by P263.2 billion.

The Philippines has been borrowing heavily to finance its COVID-19 response, as well as its ambitious infrastructure program. (Jeanne Michael Penaranda)

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