The Philippines: Economy has to reopen more, says DOF chief

  • The country’s financial position is still “good” despite the pandemic, but strict quarantine restrictions are holding back the economy, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).
  • Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government has enough funds to plug the country’s budget deficit. Dominguez said the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and Customs are doing a “good job” as they were able to collect PHP1.821tr in the first nine months, higher than the government’s estimate of PHP1.682tr.
  • State revenue collection, however, was lower by 12% y/y because of less business activity. Dominguez also reported that about 70% of the government’s borrowings came from the local market while about 30% came from abroad.
  • “So we are in good financial position and we can finance the deficit that we have, so we have not cut the budget. We also don’t cut the budget because if you cut the budget, you will make the situation even worse,” Dominguez said.
  • He added that people would lose their jobs and the government would not be able to implement its projects if the national budget is reduced.
  • The administration is now easing quarantine restrictions to allow the gradual reopening of businesses and to revive the pandemic-battered economy.
  • Lockdowns are now limited to specific areas to promote business activity, but minimum health measures are still being enforced to contain the disease.

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