Philippines' debt stock seen to balloon to P15.8T by end-2024 | Inquirer Business

Philippines’ debt stock seen to balloon to P15.8T by end-2024

/ 03:52 PM August 15, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — The national government’s outstanding debt is seen to balloon further to P15.8 trillion by the end of 2024, said National Treasurer Rosalia de Leon on Monday, during a Senate deliberation on the proposed National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2024.

“For 2024, ang aming projection of national government outstanding debt would be P15.8 trillion,” said de Leon when she was asked by Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III what the projected level of national debt would be by the end of 2024.

(For 2024, our projection of the national government’s outstanding debt would be P15.8 trillion)

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A closer look at the proposed P5.768-trillion budget for 2024  would reveal that at least 12.1 percent of it will be allocated to pay the national debt.

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This covers interest payments on the Philippine government’s domestic and foreign debt amounting to P670.5 billion and net lending of P28.7 billion, the Department of  Budget and Management said.

Pimentel, noting that the country will be paying P1.9 trillion in 2024 for national debt alone, expressed his confusion over the matter.

“Bakit parang, the economic planners know something that I cannot understand. How come the position is we should not worry about debt? Sige nga, para maintindihan ko. How come Filipinos should not worry about ballooning debt? Ballooning na ang payments, and yet ballooning pa rin si total amount to be paid,” said Pimentel.

(Why does it seem like the economic planners know something that I cannot understand? How come the position is we should not worry about debt? Explain, so I can understand. How come Filipinos should not worry about ballooning debt? The payments are ballooning, and yet the total amount to be paid is still ballooning.)

To this, de Leon said the structure of Philippine debt is “resilient.”

“Ano ba ang structure ng ating debt? We can say that it is very resilient. Wala tayong masyadong tinatawag na refinancing risks. In terms of our cost, about 90 percent ay fixed cost na po ‘yun,  ‘yung variable cost that would be subject[ed] to changes in the market conditions because of higher interest rate, mag 10 percent lang po sya. Around 70 percent of our debt is peso-denominated. Wala tayong masyadong volatility that would affect our debt service,” said de Leon.

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(What is the structure of our debt? We can say that it is very resilient. We don’t have a lot of so-called refinancing risks. In terms of our cost, about 90 percent is fixed cost, the variable cost that would be subjected to changes in the market conditions because of higher interest rate, it will only be 10 percent. Around 70 percent of our debt is peso-denominated. We don’t have much volatility that would affect our debt service.)

Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros likewise expressed her concern over the growing national debt, saying that the government should not “over promise” on what it cannot deliver.

“[T]ulad ni Sen. Koko nag-aalala po ako and sa totoo lang, di po tayo dapat mag-overpromise kung nag-a-underdeliver pa kasi….kung pakikinggan po natin ang iba’t ibang sectors, nasa krisis po sila,” said Hontiveros.

(Like Senator Koko, I am worried, and honestly, we should not overpromise if we’re underdelivering. If we listen to the different sectors, they are under crisis.)

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TAGS: debt stock, interest payments, national budget

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