By Chino S. Leyco
The Duterte administration settled higher maturing debt obligations last year as the national government continues to borrow from foreign and local lenders to support its ambitious infrastructure plan, data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed.
Based on the treasury report, the national government’s total debt payments in January to December last year amounted to P775.6 billion, up by 14 percent compared with P680.46 billion in the previous year.
Of that amount, 54.97 percent or P426.37 billion was used to settle amortizations, which is higher by 15 percent from a year before of P369.92 billion.
According to the treasury, amortization in the domestic market reached P315.05 billion last year, higher by 37 percent compared with P229.39 billion in 2017, while foreign amortization declined by 21 percent to P111.32 billion from P140.53 billion.
On the other hand, interest payments cornered 45.02 recent or P349.21 billion of the total debt settlements in 2018, which also an increase of 14 percent year-on-year from P310.54 billion.
Of the total interest payments, domestic lenders were paid P243.33 billion, higher by 15 percent compared with P210.47 billion in the previous year, while foreign secured P105.98 billion, also an increase of six percent from a year ago of P100.06 billion.
In December alone, the national government’s debt payments amounted to P87.18 billion. Of that amount, amortization reached P57.97 billion, while interest amounted to P29.21 billion.
The treasury earlier reported that the national government’s total gross borrowings hit an eight-year high of P947.6 billion in 2018 that brought its outstanding debt to P7.494 trillion as of end-January this year.
The end-January debt obligation level was nearly three percent more compared with P7.293 trillion in the previous month and 11.4 percent higher than the P6.726 trillion recorded in the same month last year.
Earlier, Pesident Rodrigo R. Duterte’s economic team has committed to mobilize up to P8 trillion during their administration to underwrite the government’s ambitious infrastructure buildup program, while maintaining a manageable ratio of debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP).