Press Release
April 24, 2009


Senator Chiz Escudero yesterday slammed the government for its borrowing spree supposedly in the name of economic stimulation and called on the Arroyo administration to immediately revisit its 2009 budget deficit target of P199 billion.

First quarter borrowings hit P351 billion in the first quarter of this year alone, up 130 percent over the same year-ago period.

"The rise in borrowings is alarming. The national government must exercise prudence and not make the global economic crisis an excuse for massive borrowings," Escudero said.

The senator said the deficit target of P199 billion for this year, adjusted from the original P172 billion, was set in anticipation of a massive economic slowdown brought about by the global economic crisis.

"But Malacanang itself has declared that the economic situation is not turning out to be as bad as originally projected. In fact, no less than Bangko Sentral Governor Armando Tetangco had protested the zero growth rate announced by the IMF," Escudero said.

"The government must temper its borrowing spree and carefully calibrate its stimulus spending. We have to remember that taxpayers will eventually be the ones who will pay for this loans, not President Gloria Arroyo or her economic managers," the senator added.

The government is planning to borrow P175 billion overseas and P439 billion from domestic sources. Foreign borrowings would rise by P27.5 billion.

The rise in the deficit was attributed to the government's P300-billion economic stimulus package which was put in place to ease the impact of the global economic crisis.

But both the government and the private sector are already saying the country may be spared the full brunt of the economic crunch.

In light of this, Escudero said there should be closer scrutiny and oversight of the Arroyo government's stimulus spending.

"As economists continue to see some encouraging indicators and revise their own growth projections for the country, the government must do the same and revisit its stimulus program," the senator said.

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