Limlingan: Priority program shift

The Advocate

FROM January to July of this year, the government has already borrowed P1.86 trillion from local and foreign government institutions. Most of the country's fresh debts are intended to fight Covid-19 and somehow help revive the pandemic-induced recession.

Financial experts have forecasted that when President Rodrigo Duterte ends his term by 2022, he would leave a total of P13.7 trillion in government's debt. This would mean that we are indeed in deep financial distress and such debt would be paid by a number of generation of Filipinos in the coming several years.

Before the pandemic, the national government has focused on several infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, seaports and airports in various parts of the country. Such projects, under the "Build, Build, Build" program would be his "concrete" legacy for his 6-year term of office.

Undeniably, he has started the said program and is currently building tangible projects for Filipinos including networks of superhighways inside Metro Manila. The skyways which are currently under construction, are to ease up the traffic problems besetting the national capital.

Prior to infrastructures, the present administration has cleansed the streets of drug pushers and users, which many believe that the country's drug problem has been serious for the past several years but still prevail until now.

The government has spent considerably huge amount of its budget in the said anti-drugs program and has lay-lowed to give way for the infrastructures. The latter meanwhile is still continuing where roads and bridges are still being built until the pandemic.

Forecasters meanwhile are saying that the government is now shifting its priorities into the global fight against the pandemic as the virus onslaught still exists worldwide and no vaccine yet has been finally approved for use by the public.

Perhaps, various infrastructures that are yet to be finished, shall soon be put into pendency due to the government's shift to health programs prompted by the pandemic. Admittedly, the President said that we have a dwindling national budget due to the lack of revenue-generating activities and the high amount of government expenditures for Covid-19.

At present, a lot of private companies and businesses are yet to recuperate from their losses as millions of Filipinos have lost their jobs due to the present health crisis. The government should give priority, aside from its health programs, some livelihood programs to somehow jumpstart economic activities and help displaced workers recover from the economic crisis.

The pandemic is a challenge to the government as it is now stuck in the quagmires of debts and the lack of revenue-generating activities that would provide for the lifeblood of the country.


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