PH debt hits record P6.4t

THE country has incurred some P6.422 trillion in total debts, up P1.7 trillion from the Arroyo government’s P4.718 trillion, National Treasurer Roberto Tan said  Thursday.

At a hearing on the 2016 national budget, members of the House appropriations committee demanded that Budget Secretary Florencio Abad disclose the loan contracts that the Aquino government has entered into during the last five years.

“We demand to know why the country’s debts have been increasing? What kinds of loans have you contracted and where did all these money go?” Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap said.

Budget hearing. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad is joined by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Treasurer Roberto Tan Jr. during a Senate hearing on the proposed 2016 national budget on Thursday. Ey Acasio
But Tan said the debt burden has been lessened due to the government’s improved revenue collection and better expenditure program.

Tan said the deficit is projected at P308.7 billion next year or 2 percent of gross domestic product.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said only a third of the national government’s outstanding debt is foreign.

For this year, Tan said, of the P5.8 trillion being serviced, domestic debts account for P3.8 trillion while foreign loans account for the balance of P1.976 trillion.

“Further consolidation of debt created a sustainable fiscal environment and improving the debt metrics resulted in lower reliance on foreign debt,” Purisima told the panel.

Purisima said revenues continued to move up in 2015 at double-digit rates with a revenue growth of 16 percent for the first six months of 2015.

The total revenues to be collected for 2016 are pegged at P2.696.8 trillion with the Bureau of Internal Revenue contributing P2.025 trillion, Bureau of Customs P498.7 billion, other offices with P19 billion and non-tax revenues amounting to P151.4 billion.

Expenditures are expected to reach P3.005 trillion, Purisima said.

He said the interest payment-to-revenue ratio has declined by almost half resulting in more funds being channeled into productive spending.

“Proactive debt management has decreased the debt burden on expenditures, creating more fiscal space to fund social commitments,” Purisima said.

Purisima, Tan and Abad failed to give details of the domestic and foreign loans contracted as demanded by Hicap. but the Budget chief said they would provide a list of loans next week.

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