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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Duterte seeks P540-billion advance from Bangko Sentral for pandemic response

MANILA, Philippines

The government says it will pay the central bank in full by the end of 2020 at no interest. The Monetary Board will discuss the matter.

The Duterte government requested P540 billion from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), as the country takes on Southeast Asia’s worst coronavirus crisis with a massive revenue shortfall.

In a text message to reporters, BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said the government committed to pay on December 29 at no interest.

Diokno and the central bank’s 7-member Monetary Board will have to discuss the matter.

The government’s request comes as it paid off the P300-billion bridge loan it owed the BSP. (READ: [ANALYSIS] A deeper look into Duterte’s finances to fight the coronavirus)

Back in March, the central bank remitted P20 billion as advance dividends to aid government programs.

The Duterte administration’s disbursements for 2020 are pegged at P4.335 trillion, while revenues are estimated to fall sharply to just P2.519 trillion, bringing the deficit to P1.815 trillion or 9.6% of the Philippines’ gross domestic product.

As of end-August, the country’s total debt had climbed to a new all-time high of P9.615 trillion.

Last April, President Rodrigo Duterte himself floated the idea of selling government assets to fund projects, but his economic managers said the President was only joking. – Rappler.com

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