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Debts won’t fall into crisis level

Joshua Lao

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While the country continues to battle the health crisis, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the country will continue to keep its policy of long-term debt sustainability and retain the economy’s strong fiscal position.

“In this battle against COVID-19, we are committed to continue striking a delicate balance between providing substantial support to the economy and maintaining our policy of long-term debt sustainability,” Dominguez said during a virtual economic briefing.

“This pandemic is a test of fiscal stamina and it was fortunate that when it hit us, the Philippines was financially ready,” he added.
According to him, the series of tax reforms implemented by the Duterte administration guaranteed a reliable revenue flow despite the economic downturn.

“Clearly, the game-changing economic and fiscal reforms we had institutionalized over the last five years cemented our overall macroeconomic stability and allowed us to respond decisively to this health crisis,” he explained.

“We are fully determined to restore the vigor of the Philippine economy at the soonest possible time. Even with the unprecedented crisis, the Duterte administration will continue to work hard until the last minute of its term to undertake the reforms we had set out to do,” he added.

Vaccine deployment

Further, the Finance chief called for the just and equitable distribution of vaccine supplies for all countries.

“The Philippines strongly supports the statement of Mr. David Malpass, former US Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs and now the World Bank President, who underscored the importance of releasing COVID-19 vaccines from countries with excess supplies as soon as possible,” Dominguez stressed.

“Despite the supply challenges, we are fully rolling out our vaccination program…We have arranged for the delivery of more than 140 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines this year,” he added.

The Cabinet official explained that around 15 percent of the vaccines will be delivered in the first semester of the year while the remaining 85 percent will be provided in the second half of 2021.

During the virtual forum, the Philippines received a P170 million grant to support the Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
With the latest financing from the United States agency for International Development, the US government’s support for the Philippines’ COVID-19 response now amounts to P1.3 billion or $27 million.

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