Drilon urges gov’t to borrow more money to shore up the economy

Published June 25, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Hannah Torregoza

Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday said the government should borrow more money to continuously fund its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and shore up the country’s economy.

Senator Franklin Drilon (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Franklin Drilon
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Drilon said he believes the government has no choice but to borrow more cash since tax collections are down.

“Ako po ay sumusuporta, hindi baleng mangutang tayo at mawala yung ating credit rating pero kailangan mangutang tayo para mabigyan natin ng stimulus ang ating mga kababayan at maibalik ang sigla ng ekonomiya. (I support that, even if we incur huge loans or we lose our credit rating but we need to borrow in order to provide our people some stimulus and revive our economy),” Drilon said in an interview over Teleradyo.

“Our present financial standing is not sufficient for us to cope with the pandemic situation. The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over,” Drilon pointed out.

The Department of Finance (DOF) earlier disclosed that its COVID-19-related borrowings have so far reached $4.83-billion from four international agencies to fund the local COVID-19 response and half of it has been disbursed.

Among those that extended loans to the Philippine government are the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with $2.6-billion, the World Bank (WB) with $1.2-billion, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank with $750-million, and Agence Française de Développement with $275.7-million.

“Ang problema ay ang willingness ng gobyerno lalo na ang Department of Finance para dagdagan ang ating utang kasi wala tayong choice. Walang collection. Kailangan ibalik ang ating ekonomiya para magkaroon ng collection ang BIR. (The problem is the willingness of the government’s, especially the DOF, to borrow more money because we have no choice. We have no collection. But we need to spur the economy so the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) can sustain its collection),” Drilon said.

“Kailangan umutang tayo wala tayong magagawa. Lahat ng bansa tumataas ang utang kasi lahat apektado hindi lang naman tayo. (We need to loan because we can’t do anything. All countries are now in debt because everyone is affected, not only our country),” the minority leader reiterated.

“If that is the only way we can help our countrymen begging for help, including our modern day heroes, then we should borrow more and give them to the people,” he stressed.

The senator said the government should use its good credit standing to take advantage of credit financing facilities available worldwide.

“If that is how we can survive this pandemic, then so be it. Hindi tayo dapat mahiyang mangutang. (We shouldn’t be ashamed to borrow money),” he further said.