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Duterte: No more money for food, financial assistance

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday evening again claimed that the Philippines has no more money for financial assistance for the poor, as he said the savings of the country are only for a drizzle and not enough for the rainy days.

In a televised address, Duterte said the government can no longer fund food and financial assistance to those hit by the lockdowns.

"I'm sorry Manila, ngayon magsabi kayo i-lockdown mo na ang Manila, ang ibang lugar, kahit Philippines, para talagang mahawa—wala ka nang mahawaan, wala ka nang mahawa," he said.

"Problem is wala na tayong pera. I cannot give food anymore and money to people," he added.

In the same speech, Duterte said the Philippines should not be compared with other countries as he claimed it does not have much savings.

"Unang una, wala nang makain. Iilan lang ang tao talaga na may savings for a rainy day, while our savings is just good for a drizzle," he said.

"Ambon lang, ibang preparation an for a typhoon. Hindi tayo mayaman," added Duterte.

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

In June, Roque said the Philippines has secured at least $5.758 billion in loans to support efforts against the coronavirus.

According to the latest data available from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), the national government's outstanding debt swelled to a record P9.054 trillion as of end-June.

Just last month, Duterte again raised the possibility of selling Philippine assets to make funds to procure vaccines against COVID-19 once available.

"If there is a thing that develops which is really good for you, mauna ako. Mag-utang ako. Magpabili ako kung saan puwede magpabili ng lupa. Ibili ko ng medicine, he said.

Duterte mentioned such a possibility in April, as he said this would be considered if funds for the fight against the disease would run out.

This was reinforced by Malacañang earlier this month when presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. on July 3 said assets would be sold to ensure that the Philippines could pay for vaccines.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin Diokno said, however, that Duterte was only joking when he raised such a possibility. — BM, GMA News