Senator Imee Marcos on Wednesday reiterated her call for the government to consider a moratorium on paying the national government's debt obligations as the country grapples with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) despite Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III's refusal to take such measure.
"Bakit ba hindi maintindihan ni Secretary Dominguez ang debt moratorium? Ang ibig lang sabihin nito ay temporary o pansamantalang tigil muna ng pagbabayad ng utang kasi nga dahil na rin sa malaking problema natin sa COVID-19. Hindi ito panunuba!" Marcos said in a statement.
"We will honor our financial obligation pero sa ngayon debt moratorium muna tayo. Hindi tayo balasubas. Kailangan natin ng pera para ipamigay sa taumbayan. Nagugutom sila!" she added.
Marcos underscored that the COVID-19 situation necessitates the temporary freezing of the national government's debt payments.
"A debt moratorium is neither mendicancy, nor theft, nor hopeless indebtedness. It is a necessity, according to the International Monetary Fund, if nations with meager resources and weak health care systems are to survive this crisis," she said.
The statement was released after Dominguez said that such a suggestion was "narrow-sighted" and will never be a part of the country's crisis response measures.
"The strongest pillar of the Philippines’ standing in the global economic community is that the country honors its financial obligations–and, for that reason, investor confidence in our economy is broad and deep. Integral to our country’s remarkable turnaround story is how credible and responsible a borrower it has become since 1986," Dominguez said.
The Marcos regime was toppled by the People Power Movement in 1986.
During that time, the Philippines' total debt-to-gross domestic product ratio hit as high as 78.3 percent, according to Dominguez. The figure is down to 41.5 percent in 2019.—AOL, GMA News