THE government posted a higher debt service bill in September, the bulk of which went to settle interest payments, according to the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr).

The national government’s total debt payments rose 54.9% year-on-year to P48.92 billion in September. The month’s total was also higher than the P31.58 billion paid in August.

Some 88% of the total, or P43.09 billion. went to interest payments, up 31.89% year-on-year, with P34.33 billion going to domestic creditors and P8.75 billion to foreign lenders.

Amortization in September accounted for 11.89% of the total debt service bill, or P5.82 billion, which was less than the year-earlier total of P5.91 billion.

All principal payments went to settle foreign debt.

In the nine months to September, debt service payments amounted to P558.21 billion, accounting for 63.12% of the P884.29 billion programmed for the year, according to the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF) report.

During the period, the government paid P293.74 billion to settle interest obligations while the remaining P264.47 billion went to principal payments.

The government borrows from both domestic and foreign lenders to pay for public projects and programs not covered by its ability to generate revenue. — Beatrice M. Laforga