PH dept tutungtong sa P15.4T sa pagbibigay ng ayuda, suspensyon ng oil tax

PH dept tutungtong sa P15.4T sa pagbibigay ng ayuda, suspensyon ng oil tax

June 7, 2022 @ 8:50 AM 3 weeks ago

MANILA, Philippines – Sinabi ng Department of Finance (DOF) na kung tinuloy ang pagbibigay ng cash aid sa gitna ng pandemiya at saka kung aalisin ang oil taxes nang sumirit ang presyuhan nito sa pangdaigdigang merkado, ay maaring lumobo pa sa P15.4 trillion ang utang ng Pilipinas ngayong taon.

“The government has consistently exercised fiscal prudence in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We spent what we had to, but not more than what we could afford. In fact, had we acquiesced to pressure for us to spend more, our debt would have increased by P2.2-trillion more and reached P15.4 trillion,” ayon kay DOF’s chief economist, retired undersecretary Gil Beltran.

“The national government’s outstanding debt had been projected to hit a new high of P13.2 trillion by yearend. Even if the economy would grow by 7 to 8 percent as targeted in 2022, the debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio — a better measure of a country’s capability to repay its obligations — would further rise to 60.9 percent, from the 16-year-high of 60.5 percent last year,” ayon sa DOF.

“Debt-to-GDP already reached 63.5 percent in the first quarter — the highest since end-2005’s 65.7 percent — as debts climbed 17.7 percent year-on-year during the first three months and outpaced the better-than-expected first-quarter GDP growth of 8.3 percent. The end-March ratio remained above the 60-percent threshold deemed by debt watchers as manageable among emerging markets like the Philippines,” dagdag na pahayag ng DOF.

Subalit sinabi naman ng domestic finance group ng DOF na “the passage of proposed COVID-19 stimulus bills and other revenue-eroding measures would have led to additional spending or revenue losses of at least P2.2 trillion.”

Bukod sa pangungutang, ang tax at non-tax revenues na kinolekta ng government ang nag-finance sa national budget.

Sinabi pa ng DOF, ang panukalang mga batas na hindi naman naipasa — ukol sa value-added tax (VAT) exemptions para sa langis, liquified petroleum gas (LPG), electricity at iba pang commodities, at maging ang suspension ng fuel excise taxes; bilang ng mga hakbang na naglalayong makapagbigay ng ng mas maraming “subsidies as economic stimulus” sa gitna ng COVID-19 pandemic; mga batas para sa exclusion ng 13th-month pay, performance-based bonuses (PBB), at iba pang income mula sa taxable income; at maging ang pagtatatag ng bagong government departments at agencies, ay nakapagpalobo sa debt pile.

“The government’s pandemic response strategically targeted the most vulnerable sectors. Financing for the two Bayanihan laws focused on ensuring that the most essential health interventions and emergency economic relief measures for populations most adversely affected by the pandemic were funded fully,” ayon kay Beltran na ang tinutukoy ay ang Bayanihan to Heal as One (Bayanihan 1) at maging ang Bayanihan to Recover as One (Bayanihan 2) laws na naipasa noong 2020 para tugunan ang “health and socioeconomic crises” dahil sa COVID-19.

“Aware of the effects of additional spending on our borrowings, the DOF worked closely with legislators to limit the interventions under Bayanihan 2 to P140 billion, despite the objections of many other stakeholders,” ayon kay Beltran.

“The government did not support several stimulus bills, each proposing hundreds of billions of additional appropriations, precisely because we understood that this would translate into further increases in the deficit and debt,” dagdag na pahayag nito.

“To deal with the effects of the pandemic in a strategic and cost-efficient manner, we secured additional financing from multilateral partner-institutions to procure an adequate supply of vaccines for the target population. The accelerated vaccination program, along with shifting to the alert level system with granular lockdowns and increased public transport capacity, enabled us to aggressively reopen the economy and restore jobs,” ang lahad ni Beltran.

Sinabi ni Beltran na sa halip, isinulong ng administrasyong Duterte ang tinawag nitong “fiscally sustainable economic recovery programs,” gaya ng Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE), at maging ang Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST) laws.

Samantala, ipinanukala naman ng outgoing Duterte administration ang fiscal consolidation at resource mobilization plan kay president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. para bayaran ang pandemic-induced ballooning debts at mapigilan ang economic and fiscal crises.

“Fiscal consolidation mainly meant higher or new taxes slapped on consumption plus a three-year deferral of scheduled personal income tax cuts, while slashing public spending on non-priority budget items,” ayon sa ulat. Kris Jose