Duterte burying PH, Filipinos in debt and poverty — farmers

Each Filipino owes ₱83k, no thanks to Duterte.

Every Filipino has an additional debt of ₱83,238.35, no thanks to the government’s aggressive and reckless local and foreign borrowings that has buried the country in a total debt load of ₱9.054 trillion as of May. “Bawat isa sa lampas 108 milyong Pilipino ay may utang na  ₱83K  na hindi nito nahawakan o napakinabangan. This quicksand of loans and debts incurred by the national government will swallow us alive and will bleed us dry through new and additional taxes and cost-cutting on much-needed social services.”  

The total national debt increased by 12.3 percent or ₱975.2 billion compared to May 2019. At the start of the year, the debt was at ₱7.8 trillion, in April, the debt figure increased to ₱8.6 trillion, and further rose to ₱8.89 trillion in May due to the Duterte’ administration’s heavy reliance on foreign loans to fund and support national COVID-19 response measures. The total additional debt of ₱1.1 trillion incurred by the government in the past five months has surpassed the total additional debt for the past three years. Compared to the previous Arroyo and Aquino administrations, Duterte is now the heaviest debtor in PH history – an average of ₱63 billion debt per month as compared to Arroyo’s ₱21 billion, and Aquino’s ₱19 billion per month, respectively.

KMP said a large chunk of these loans were not directly spent for COVID-19 response but for economic stimulus to support Duterte’s ambitious Build, Build, Build flagship projects and continued promotion of neoliberal economic policies. Kailangan daw mangutang para sa ‘new normal’ at muling pagbubukas ng ekonomiya pero ang limpak na mga bagong utang ay para sa mga proyektong imprastraktura na ipinapakete bilang COVID-19 response. Wala daw pondo para sa mass testing at Social Amelioration Program pero nangungutang para sa Build, Build, Build,” according to KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.  

The government secured new loans from the Asian Development Bank (₱130.5 billion), World Bank (₱85.8 billion), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JPY50-billion or ₱24-billion), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (₱750 million), and Agence Française de Développement (€250 million or ₱14 billion) in recent months. These loans will be in the form of ODA projects, support to Expanding Private Participation in Infrastructure Program, and new and high-impact infrastructure projects.  

The government has so far raised $7.63 billion in financial support from foreign multilateral lenders and bilateral partners to bankroll efforts for so-called economic resilience. The Department of Finance is targeting to borrow a total of ₱436.9 billion from foreign sources to support government spending for COVID-19 response measures. It has also set aside ₱465.88 billion to settle maturing loans. Much of these loans and debts will be squandered for corruption. The government is operating on debt and spending more than it can pay. No wonder it is hell-bent on imposing new and additional taxes from Filipinos,” Ramos said, referring to the proposed new taxes on digital platforms and e-commerce. (Image by Miguel de Guzman/Philstar). ### 

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