Repeal debt payment law, solon urges

November 1, 2021 Jester P. Manalastas 234 views

WITH the ballooning debts of the Philippines, the automatic debt servicing should be repealed or Filipinos will suffer a lot.

Bayan Muna Representative Ferdinand Gaite urged both Malacanang and Congress to consider the approval of the House Bill 4087 or the Repeal the Automatic Appropriation for Debt Service Bill.

Based on reports, the existing debts of the country both local and international has ballooned to P11.92 trillion.

In fact, the Philippines is now the biggest borrower of the World Bank.

Gaite said the government cannot afford to pay these debts, even its interests, because it needs to address the needs of the people in terms of food and services.

Likewise, Gaite said, the automatic appropriation for debt service at the expense of basic services is unjust as it preempts the people’s prerogative by giving absolute and unquestioned priority to debt servicing and placing so much of the national budget outside normal budget processes.

The bill is proposing a more rational and humane budgetary process by redirecting to the benefit of the people the hundreds of billions of pesos annually allocated to debt servicing.

The measure seeks to amend the Section 31 of Presidential Decree No. 1177, otherwise known as the “Budget Reform Decree of 1977” which provides for automatic appropriation for public debt service.

It will likewise amend Section 26, Chapter 4, Book VI of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as the “Administrative Code Of 1987,” which reiterates into Section 31 of PD 1177.”

“If enacted, this will remedy a long-standing defect in the government’s budget policy – the indiscriminate payment of all public debts including questionable loans, regardless of the grave diversion of finances from basic services. It affirms and asserts the obligation of the State under Article II, Section 9 of the 1987 Constitution to “promote a just [social order]…through policies that provide adequate social services,” the solon said.

“Mahirap unawain ang laki ng halaga pero para lalong maintindihan, ibig sabihin lang na bawat Pilipino, matanda at yung pinapanganak pa lamang ay may utang na kaagad ng P120,000! Debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio has already reached an unsustainable rate of 60.4 percent as of end-June 2021. This is even way higher when we filed the bill in August 2019,” he added.