As President Benigno Aquino leaves his leadership to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, the country is buried with an estimated foreign debt of $77.6 billion as of March-end 2016. According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco, the said amount is slightly higher as compared to the country’s external debt last year. As posted in a press release at bsp.gov this Friday, June 17, the Philippine’s outstanding external debt is 0.2 percent higher ($166 million) than the $77.5 billion by the end of 2015. The said increase was brought about by various reasons, which includes “foreign exchange (FX) revaluation adjustments (US$814 million) as the US Dollar weakened.
The BSP also noted the previous periods’ adjustments and increased investments in Philippine debt papers by non-resident investors (US$833 million), as another reason for the increase. BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo told reporters that the borrowing was used in various infrastructure projects such as building dams and power plants. “A stronger dollar results in lower debt figure expressed in US dollar terms,” Tetangco said in an earlier report, noting that the key external debt indicators are still in the comfortable level. In addition, about 80.5 percent of the country’s outstanding external debt consisted of medium- and long-term accounts are set to mature in over a year. Nevertheless, the BSP data showed that the nations’ external debt is only at $73.5 billion by the end of 2010, during the Arroyo administration. But on the positive side for PNoy, the same data showed a consistent decrease for the past three years – $77.6 billion in 2014, $78.4 billion in 2013, and $79.9 billion in 2012. Year 2011 had $77.5 billion, though. We should, however understand that the Philippines’ external debt refers to all types of borrowings made by residents of the Philippines from non-residents of the country. It is different from the Public Debt (or National Debt), which is the total debt of a country. As of early 2016, the country’s estimated public debt under the PNoy administration is $163,9 billion.