GENERAL GOVERNMENT (GG) debt as a share of the economy fell to 34.1% in 2019 from 34.4% a year earlier, the Department of Finance (DoF) said, providing a baseline for economic conditions before borrowing swelled due to the pandemic.

In a statement over the weekend, the DoF said GG debt stock was P6.65 trillion last year, up 5.9%.

It said the decline was mainly due to a decline in national government debt, which accounted for 39.6% of GDP (gross domestic product) last year, down from 39.9% in 2018.

“The combination of prudent cash and debt management and steady economic growth has continuously brought down the NG (national government) debt-to-GDP ratio in recent years,” the statement read.

GG debt to GDP has been steadily declining from 47.1% in 2013.

Of the total debt stock, some 62% or P4.11 trillion was provided by domestic creditors and 38% or P2.54 trillion by foreign lenders.

GG debt is the outstanding debt of the national government, social security institutions and local governments less the intra-sector debt holding of government securities and the bond sinking fund (BSF).

National government debt, net of BSF, rose 5.6% to P7.17 trillion in 2019. Domestic and foreign debt rose 6.6% and 3.7%.

Both the Government Service Insurance System and Social Security System did not contribute to the debt stock, but were able to increase their holdings of government securities by 3.1% from a year earlier. — Beatrice M. Laforga