Think tank IBON Foundation noted that the country’s debt under the Duterte administration has unfortunately doubled.
“‘Yung utang something to be alarmed about sa laki niya,” IBON’s executive director Sonny Africa told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
The government’s new plan of imposing new forms of taxes is alarming, said Africa.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) previously said that there was no reason to fear debt that was incurred with “clear purpose.”
Late president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino ended his term leaving the country with a debt of only P6 trillion. It took only less than 6 years for that figure to double thanks to the leadership of Duterte.
The Bureau of Treasury said the total outstanding debt reached P12.76 trillion as of the end of April 2022. The country’s debt was at P5.95 trillion at the end of June 2016.
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“Ayon mismo sa datos ng Bureau of Treasury, kung umutang tayo ng 5.5 trillion pesos nitong nakaraang dalawang taon, ayon naman sa DBM P616 billlion pesos lamang ang ginastos for COVID response habang P2.3 trillion pesos ang ginastos para sa pambayad utang at P1.9 trillion para sa imprastraktura,” Africa said.
Incoming finance department head and current Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Benjamin Diokno said that the next administration will inherit a “much better economy” but with an increased debt-to-GDP ratio because of the pandemic.
Africa isn’t sold on the prediction that the country’s economy would improve by 7 percent since spending on infrastructure didn’t do anything to help the country’s GDP growth.
“So medyo di kami optimistic na kung before the pandemic hindi umubra ‘yung infrastructure spending para mas pasiglahin ‘yung ekonomiya ay ano pa kaya ngayon? Tingin namin sunshine para maganda naman ang weekend nila pero malabo po iyon,” he said.
In a different interview, Africa suggested that the government should tax billionaires more.
“If the government thinks na we’re gonna raise money from consumption taxes, that’s very problematic, magkakahangganan dun,” said Africa on One News’ The Chiefs. “Let’s hope may magic wand talaga with the digitization of those promises to increase collection efficiency but that’s not gonna happen.”
IBON would like to see a wealth tax of 1% on those earning P1 billion, 2% on P2 billion, and 3% for those beyond P3 billion.
“It’s (wealth tax) nothing. The richest Filipino now has P330 billion. After the billionaire tax, may P310 billion pa siya. So, maraming (metric) about nation-building, giving back itong mga ito. Let’s institutionalize na,” added Africa.
President-elect Marcos Jr. was convicted of not filing and paying taxes.