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Philippines' borrowing policy ‘conservative,’ Dominguez assures

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Wednesday assured that the government borrowing policy is "conservative," as more loans are being processed to finance efforts to combat the effects of the coronavirus.

Dominguez, who leads the economic team, said the government has already spent at least P375 billion for the Philippines' COVID-19 response.

"Rest assured that our borrowing policy is very conservative," he said during the Pre-SONA virtual presser on Wednesday.

"At the moment, in fact, we are getting the lowest interest rates that we have experienced in a long, long time and we are also experiencing longer maturities," he added.

The Department of Finance (DOF) earlier this week said borrowings have reached P1.22 trillion in the first four months of 2020, as the administration ramped its reliance on lending to fund the COVID-19 response and economic relief initiatives.

"Most important thing regarding payment of debt is to make sure that your debt is invested in projects that actually will yield a return," Dominguez said.

"So far, our projects, particularly recently we've spent P375 billion on our COVID response, is definitely investment in the health and welfare of our people," he added.

Just last month, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. said the Philippines has secured at least $5.758 billion in loans to support efforts against the coronavirus.

"Keeping (the people) healthy will prepare them to get back to work and prepare them to be productive again and when our economy starts getting productive we will achieve our high revenues from great business activity," Dominguez said.

Metro Manila, along with several high-risk areas, was under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 17 to May 15, followed by a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until May 31.

A general community quarantine (GCQ) was put in place from June 1 to 15, and has since been extended until June 30.

As of Tuesday, July 7, 2020, the Philippines has so far recorded a total of 47,873 confirmed cases of COVID-19. This includes 12,386 recoveries and 1,309 deaths. —LDF, GMA News