By Jeanne Michael Penaranda
MANILA — The national government’s total outstanding debt climbed to a new record ₱14.10 trillion by the end of May this year, the Bureau of the Treasury reported.
This means that in less than a year since assuming the presidency, the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has added around P1.31 trillion to the country’s debt
This means the country’s debts increased by 1.3% or ₱185.40 billion from April due to the net issuance of domestic and external debt, as well as the peso’s depreciation against the US dollar.
Most of the debt stock or 68% was sourced domestically, while 32% were external borrowings, the treasury bureau said.
The bureau also said domestic debt rose to ₱9.59 trillion, higher by 1.4% or ₱130.67 billion compared to the end-April level. The hike was due to the net issuance of government securities along with local currency depreciation against the greenback.
“Moreover, the impact of peso depreciation against the US dollar padded the value of onshore foreign currency-denominated securities by P1.56 billion,” the treasury bureau added.
Meanwhile, the country’s external or foreign debt amounted to ₱4.51 trillion, up 1.2% or ₱54.73 billion from the previous month, the bureau said, mainly driven by external loans.
On the other hand, the government’s guaranteed obligations fell by 0.3% to ₱379.71 billion due to net repayment of external guarantees amounting to ₱6.70 billion and third-currency adjustments of ₱0.91 billion.
The Philippines’ sovereign debt ballooned during the pandemic as the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte borrowed heavily to fund its COVID-19 response. Duterte’s ambitious infrastructure push also contributed to the higher debt levels.
Economic managers, however, have said that the debt level remains manageable as economic growth can outpace the cost of servicing debt.
The government earlier said its debt-to-GDP ratio improved to 60.9 percent in 2022