Bayan Muna calls for stop to COVID-19 borrowings
MANILA, Philippines — Party list group Bayan Muna on Saturday demanded that the government stop securing loans for its coronavirus response until it has accounted for the P2.1 trillion that it had borrowed since the start of the year.
Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares said the government should “stop burying the Filipino people in debt,” as the Duterte administration is supposedly now “awash with funds” to combat the spread of COVID-19.
“We demand a thorough government accounting of the funds and where these funds were spent before President Duterte incurs more loans and buries us in more debt,” he said in a statement.
Colmenares, a three-term congressman whose party holds three House seats in the 18th Congress, said the Duterte administration had borrowed a total of P413.5 billion in foreign loans from January to June 2020, which is purportedly more than the P374 billion that the President has reportedly spent for the government’s COVID-19 response.
“Worse, President Duterte also borrowed P1.68 trillion by selling government securities in the same period. This is a total of P2.093 trillion loans just in the first six months of this year,” he said.
The Bayan Muna chair questioned why President Duterte keeps on borrowing when the P2.093 trillion is more than five times the P374 billion the government has so far spent for COVID-19.
“With these monies, the government can afford mass testing, giving the second round of [social amelioration program] aid to the poor as required by the Bayanihan law, including financial aid to [public transport] drivers and even the middle class, as well as [small and medium-size enterprises],” he added.
Colmenares wondered why President Duterte stated in his fifth State of the Nation Address on Monday, that the national government has approved 2,600 micro, small and medium enterprises loan applications, which purportedly accounts for P182.5 million only.
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