Gov't debt service drops 20% to P527 B

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 15 2014 08:15 AM | Updated as of Jan 15 2014 04:15 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The amount spent by the government for debt servicing continued to decline in the first 11 months of 2013 as the Aquino administration moved to lengthen the maturity of its financial obligations and ramp up spending on infrastructure to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth.

Latest data from the Department of Finance showed that the government spent P526.98 billion to pay debt from January to November last year, down 20 percent from P658 billion in the same period in 2012.

The government settled a total of P230.29 billion in principal, including P117.57 billion in domestic debt and P112.72 billion in foreign loans.

Total principal payment during the period was 38.7 percent lower than the previous year’s P375.66 billion.

The government also paid a total of P296.69 billion in interest, covering P201.82 billion in domestic loans and P94.87 billion in foreign borrowings.

Total interest payments for the 11-month period reflected a five percent increase from a year ago’s P282.34 billion.

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In November alone, the government spent P230.29 billion to settle its obligations, 38.7 percent lower than what it paid for in the same month in 2012.

As for principal payments, the government spent P10.82 billion in November, nearly half of what it settled the previous year.

Interest payments for the month amounted to P18.12 billion, lower by 15.78 percent from a year ago.

The Aquino administration sees a continued drop in the share of debt servicing to the national budget as it remains committed to spending more on providing quality infrastructure and social services.

For this year, the government has earmarked P791.5 billion for public debt servicing. The amount accounts for 34 percent of the proposed 2014 national budget of P2.268 trillion. Of the total, P352.7 billion will be used to cover interest payments -- P248.4 for domestic debt and P104.3 billion for foreign borrowings.