Debt payments by the Philippine government were nearing the P1 trillion mark in the first nine-months of the year due to higher interest and principal settlements.

Data from the Bureau of the Treasury showed that the national government’s debt servicing reached P963.86 billion in January to September, or 15 percent higher than the P834.71 billion paid out in the same period last year.

Debt servicing refers to payments of both interest and principal. The debt service burden excludes actual outflows such as rescheduling or refinancing of existing debt and conversion of debt to equity.

Interest payments rose eight percent to P339.35 billion at end-September 2021 from P312.97 billion a year earlier.

Of the total, domestic and foreign interest payments reached P257.68 billion and P81.73 billion, respectively.

Payment of principal also jumped 19 percent to P624.51 billion in the first three-quarters from P521.74 billion last year, consisting of domestic payments of P405.4 billion and foreign payments of P219.11 billion.

The end-September debt payments account for 53.8 percent of the P1.79 trillion program for the full year of 2021 of which, P1.39 trillion is earmarked for domestic debt while the remaining P402 billion is for foreign creditors.

In September alone, debt payments amounted to P54.45 billion, down 26 percent from P74.06 billion in the same month last year.

The government paid P47.86 billion in interest during the month, and P6.59 billon in principal.

Earlier, the Treasury bureau reported that the government borrowings rose at a much slower pace in the first nine-months of the year as the need for additional financing to augment the country’s coronavirus war chest started to wane.

The Duterte administration’s gross borrowings from January to September increased by only 1.6 percent, significantly slower compared with the 179 percent acceleration recorded in the same period last year.

Based on preliminary data from the Treasury, the three-quarter borrowings stood at P2.6 trillion, around P400 billion larger than the 2.56 trillion logged in the same period last year.

In September alone, gross borrowings reached P215.1 billion, more than double compared with P90.6 billion a year earlier.

As of September 2021, the total outstanding debt stock of the national government reached P11.92 trillion.

Source: Manila Bulletin (