MANILA, Philippines – Latest data from the Bureau of Treasury revealed that the Philippines saw a 30 percent reduction in its total debt payments – now down to P158.11 billion – in the first quarter of 2014. This, as the country’s government sped up public spending, in in the release of funds for the much needed reconstruction and rehabilitation of typhoon-ravaged areas of the Visayas,.
Of the total, the breakdown is as follows:
• P55 billion for principal payments from January to March (down 56.69 percent from P127 billion in 2013.) Of this amount, payments for domestic obligations reached P712 million (99 percent lower than the 2013.) Payments for foreign obligations, on the other hand, were up by three percent to P54.27 billion.
• P103.13 billion on total interest payment during this period (up 4.88 percent from P98.33 billion last year.) P64.4 billionwas paid for interest on domestic loans, while P38.7 billion for interest on foreign obligations.
Under the national budget of 2014, P352.65 billion has been earmarked to pay for interest on the country’s outstanding debt. The amount accounts for 15.6 percent of the state’s 2014 budget of P2.265-trillion, and represents a decline in the proportion of the budget set aside for debt servicing.
Also in the first quarter, total government disbursements rose 12 percent to P482.53 billion.
According to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, the government is expected to fork over more money towards improving and upgrading infrastructure, with the goal of being at par with its Asian neighbors.