Imee: All We Ask Is One-Year Deferment, Not Default On Debt Payments

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The G20 forum of the world’s major economies have joined the largest international lenders and even Pope Francis in a unanimous call for debt relief to the world’s poorest countries, Senator Imee Marcos said.

“What do we lose by asking for a one-year postponement of interest payments, a mere delay after decades of punctual payments, certainly not the default on debt that the Department of Finance dreads,” Marcos said.

“Already the message is clear: the world’s richest nations and the world’s top lenders like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and Asian Development Bank have called for a debt moratorium for the poorer nations, and the Philippines is included in last night’s list of 75 countries,” Marcos added.

“As always Pope Francis said it best, asking for lenders to find it in their hearts not only to delay payments, but even ‘reduce if not forgive’ loans to the world’s less fortunate,” Marcos also said.

Marcos said further that she would like the opportunity to explain her position to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, who balked at her proposal to temporarily delay the country’s debt payments and use the funds saved for the government’s social amelioration program amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The Philippines’ rank as the 28th poorest nation in the world and puts it among 76 nations to which the G20 said private creditors could grant debt relief to cope with the global pandemic.

The G20’s call coincided with its decision to suspend the loan obligations of the world’s 25 poorest by May 1 until yearend, or even into 2021 if the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

Debt relief will allow poor nations to use their limited resources to boost weak health care systems and welfare aid, the G20 said.

Although the Philippines’ 28th-poorest ranking is a two-notch upgrade since 2017 and is expected to improve further to 31st in 2023, the country will remain at the lower end of 126 economies, based on projected gross domestic product per capita analyzed by the international economic research group FocusEconomics.