De Lima: Duterte’s debt spree must be kept in check

De Lima: Duterte’s debt spree must be kept in check

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima is alarmed at the continued
borrowing frenzy of the Duterte administration, saying that multiple
generations of Filipinos are being sentenced to serve life terms of
debt slavery to foreign nations.

Per available data, the country’s total outstanding debt hit a
record-high P11.07 trillion as of the end of May.

De Lima stressed that Duterte’s debt spree must be kept in check
considering his infamous sly tactics and his minions’ ineptitude,
negligence, and failure in coming up with a solid, well-thought-out
fiscal plan.

“Is it Build, Build, Build or Debt, Debt, Debt? That is the question
of the hour. With countless unfulfilled promises, one cannot help but
do the math and ask who actually gained from these projects. Bayan ba
talaga ang nakinabang, o bayan ang namuhunan sa pagpapataba ng bulsa
ng mga korap at ganid?” she asked in her Dispatch from Crame No. 1092.

“Hindi naman maaaring hayaan lang na tumaba ang bulsa ng iilan habang
milyon-milyong Pilipino ang patuloy na nagugutom at naghihikahos.
Lumolobo ang utang at sangkaterba rin ang pangako ni Duterte na #PaSóNa,” she added.

Last July 5, the Bureau of Treasury reportedly divulged that the
Philippines’ debt stock went up by P79.8 billion or 0.73% from
end-April, resulting to total outstanding debt of P11.07 trillion in
end-May.

Reportedly, 28.5% of the total debt stock was sourced externally,
while 71.5% came from domestic borrowings.

“In fact, even before the pandemic, Duterte already began his debt
addiction by signing loans to fund his supposed ‘legacy’ as the Golden
Age of Infrastructure,” De Lima noted.

It can be recalled that the Philippines has been borrowing heavily not
only to finance the country’s fight against COVID-19 but also to
finance the Duterte regime’s ambitious infrastructure program or
“Build, Build, Build.”

Despite the funds allocated for its infrastructure program, De Lima
said the Duterte administration can only brag about the PNoy
administration’s infrastructure projects that they simply completed.

“The Duterte administration’s dismal performance in the ‘Build, Build,
Build’ Program is undeniable, with most projects claimed by Duterte
being properly attributable to PNoy. Pati mga proyekto niya inutang
lang niya kay PNoy para kunwari meron din siyang nagawa, at hindi lang
siya puro ngawa,” she said.

“One thing is certain. Duterte’s legacy is a Golden Age of Debt!
Duterte’s debt legacy would be nightmarish for the next President, a
humongous burden for us and the next generations,” she added.

Worse, De Lima said that despite the trillions of loans acquired by
Duterte to supposedly finance the country’s COVID-19 response
measures, the Philippines still ranked second-lowest among 53
countries in a COVID-19 resilience study.

De Lima was referring to Bloomberg’s COVID Resilience Ranking wherein
the Philippines only scored 45.3, next to Argentina with a score of
37, based on data as of June 27.

“Kulelat po tayo sa 53 bansa pagdating sa porsyento ng mga taong
nabakunahan, kalubhaan ng mga lockdown, kapasidad sa paglipad at mga
ruta sa pagbiyahe ng nabakunahan at iba pang indicators tulad ng
fatality at positivity rate. Imbes na ayusin natin yung mga
kakulangan, inaaway lang ni Duterte at mga tagapagsalita niya ang
nagsasabi ng totoong kalagayan,” De Lima pointed out.

“Sa sobrang kapalpakan, ang ₱6.49 billion na pang-ayuda sana sa mga
kababayan nating nangangailangan ay hindi naipamahagi hanggang nawalan
na ng bisa ang Bayanihan 2. Perang inutang, natutulog lang dahil panay
din ang tulog ng Pangulo,” she added.

“Hindi tama na para makalamon ang mga gahamang buwaya ay igigisa ang
mga Pilipino sa sarili nilang mantika,” the Senator stressed. “Our
people deserve a government that will drive a hard bargain to get the
terms that are most beneficial to our own national interest; but at
the rate this debt spree is going, our government officials are
bargaining away the future of multiple generations of Filipinos.
Hindi pa pinapanganak ang mga apo natin, alipin na sila ng mga utang
ni Duterte,” she added. (ai/mtvn)

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