Imee Kay Sec. Dominguez: Hindi Panunuba Ang Debt Moratorium!

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I understand Secretary Dominguez’s frustration that COVID-19 is slowly undoing all the hard work that the Department of Finance has put in to keep the country’s economy in good shape.

But COVID-19 is the enemy, not me. I plead Secretary Dominguez not to take things personally when I stand my ground that the government should suspend payment of the country’s debts to fund more urgent cash aid for millions of Filipinos who will surely go hungry if the pandemic lasts longer than expected and keeps them in lockdown.

A debt moratorium is neither mendicancy, nor theft, nor hopeless indebtedness. It is a necessity, according to the International Monetary Fund, if nations with meager resources and weak health care systems are to survive this crisis. In Southeast Asia, COVID-19 has hit the Philippines the hardest.

President Duterte has emphasized that government resources are not inexhaustible. A debt moratorium can substantially stretch the lifeline of resources that must reach as many people as cry out for help, as far as the remotest barangay infected by the virus, and hopefully as long as this crisis will last.

While Secretary Dominguez and I are still lucky to have three square meals a day, hundreds of thousands if not millions of Filipinos with no access to the media are going hungry, unseen Filipinos whose patience and belief in government are being tested every single day that promised aid does not arrive.

All out na po tayo, please sir, all heart! Marami nang Pilipinong gutom. Itodo na po natin ang tulong sa ating kapwa!