2021 debt payments hit record-high P1.2T
The amount of debt paid by the national government hit a record-high P1.2 trillion in 2021 alongside the bigger obligations that piled up to finance the fight against the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) data showed that last year was the first time that annual debt payments breached the P1-trillion mark. In 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the government settled P962.5 billion in debts.
Primary or amortization payments in 2021 amounted to P774.7 billion, also the biggest since 1986, per historical BTr data. The government paid P537.5-billion worth of amortization for domestic debts, and P237.2 billion for external obligations.
Interest payments last year reached P429.4 billion, also the largest since 1986. Interest paid for local borrowings such as treasury bills and bonds amounted to P333.3 billion, while interest settled for foreign debts were P96.1-billion worth. Actual interest payments in 2021 were below the P531.5 billion set aside by the government.
Budget documents had shown that the national government will pay a new high of P1.3 trillion in obligations— P785.2-billion principal amortization plus P512.6-billion in interest—this year, alongside a further climb in outstanding debt to P13.4 trillion by end-2022.
As of January, the debt pile stood at a record P12.03 trillion. It will take several generations to repay debts—for instance, the total of $25.7 billion (more than P1.3 trillion) borrowed by the Philippines from foreign lenders for COVID-19 response as of mid-January of this year will be repaid up to 2060.
—Ben O. de Vera INQ
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