July 15, 2024

The noticeable failure of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to fulfill his campaign promise to lower the price of rice to P20 a kilo amidst the administration’s borrowing binge that has now reached P118.6 billion calls for public vigilance due to the implications of the President’s actions on financial matters.
Of late, the Ibon Foundation, citing records from the Bureau of Treasury, has reported that Marcos Jr.’s borrowing binge from July 2022 to May 2023 has reached P118.6B, surpassing the loan record of P95.1B from July 2016 to June 2022 under the term of his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte.
The current administration’s borrowing binge in a span of 10 months also surpassed the borrowing binge of P21.2B under the presidential term of Gloria Arroyo in a span of 10 years, or from January 2001 to June 2010 and the loans of her successor Benigno Aquino III, which reached P19.0B from July 2010 to June 2016.
Given the huge amount, Filipinos, especially the growing number of families living below the poverty threshold, wonder if they can survive the next four years of the Marcos Jr. administration, given the soaring prices of basic commodities while worrying about the prudence, transparency, and long-term consequences of such financial actions.
The foray into borrowing of Marcos Jr. has sparked unease due to his family’s historical ties to excessive borrowing and economic mismanagement during his father’s administration.
The specter of the Marcos era, marked by rampant corruption and an unsustainable debt burden, continues to cast a shadow over the country up to now in spite of narratives or claims of disinformation that the Marcos dictatorship was the country’s golden age of economic prosperity.
While borrowing can provide crucial resources for the current administration to achieve its economic and development goals, it’s important to emphasize that responsible borrowing is key. Borrowing must be accompanied by transparent financial management, realistic repayment plans, and a commitment to using borrowed funds efficiently and effectively.
Moreover, the Ibon Foundation’s report underscores the necessity of evaluating the long-term consequences of these borrowings.
Excessive debt can shackle a nation’s economy, diverting resources away from vital public services such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure development.
It is imperative that any borrowing undertaken by public figures be aligned with the principles of sustainable economic growth, avoiding short-term gains that come at the expense of future generations.
As the nation grapples with the potential ramifications of Marcos Jr.’s borrowing binge, it is crucial for Filipinos to engage in informed dialogue and demand accountability from top Malacañang officials and heads of concerned government agencies.
Learning from history and advocating for responsible fiscal management is essential to safeguarding the country’s economic future and preventing a repeat of past mistakes.
The effects of these financial decisions will undoubtedly reverberate through time, making it imperative that every step is taken to ensure they lead to a prosperous and sustainable Philippines.
Meanwhile, the inability of the Marcos Jr. government to address the rising rice prices brings into question its economic priorities. If efforts to stimulate the agricultural sector and ensure food security remain insufficient, it begs the question of whether the government’s fiscal policies are genuinely centered on the well-being of its citizens.
It would take another year before Filipinos will be comforted with more promises from the President when he delivers his State of the Nation Address.