Living on a Mountain of Gold-A A +A
By DP Limlingan
Friday, September 14, 2012
WE ARE about 94 million Filipinos today.
If each of us pays the outstanding debt of the Republic of the Philippines, we are indebted by P54,851 to our creditors. That is how rich we are in terms of debts to foreign and domestic institutions. Every Filipino has to pay such amount to cover all our borrowings, local and abroad.
I was scanning the papers a couple of days ago when I read a report from the Bureau of Treasury that the total outstanding debt of the national government amounts to P5.156 trillion. Who would not be bug-eyed with such a staggering amount?
How could such an amount increase, considering the fact that the government is earning from different transactions and spending a lot on things that many consider frivolous government expenditures?
This means I already have debts as a citizen of this republic the minute I was born. But the amount that time was never that big, compared to our present debts.
It’s hard to believe that we can hardly pay our debts despite the fact that we have so many resources to develop and profit from. We have a lot of national and local budgets too, to minimize our spending and save a little for our national debt services.
We Filipinos are beggars living on a mountain of gold. We are, because we have resources and industries such as mining, livestock, agriculture, marine resources, tourism, among many others.
Having visited other countries, I can say that we have the best human resources too. Sad to note, we are likewise exporting them. The Philippines is among the countries which have a high number of worker exports in different countries around the world.
Foreign remittances from a great number of our overseas Filipino workers sent to our country maintains our foreign currency reserves, thus the government earns from them when they exchange their money to pesos.
On industries such as agriculture and livestock, we too are great exporters of them and every ton of our domestic products sold abroad means government earnings from taxes and other duties.
We have multi-national companies that have great investments in the country. The government earns from them in terms of business revenues including their employees’ taxes.
Not all government services are free. We pay corresponding processing fees and other regulatory fees that redound to the national treasury.
Local governments meanwhile have their own sources of revenues too but are not part of the national government’s duty on debt servicing.
The national government and the local governments all throughout the country have funds that they can and should spend wisely or even set aside to cater to the need of somehow lowering the amount of our debts if not totally pay them out.
We have to bear in mind that the national government has extended some amount only this year to some countries which are in dire need of finances to boost their economy. The consummated move became controversial.
Not to particularly mention cases of anomalies and scams involving government officials, the country is losing billions of pesos on corruption alone. We hear them in the news every day.
Despite the fact that we sit on our vast resources, we are still beggars and borrowers from foreign and local entities. It’s high time that the national government tightens its belt on government spending and consider debt servicing as a priority before we jumpstart to a better economy thereafter.
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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 15, 2012.