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The Duterte administration is still dealing with the P12-T debt, according to the Palace.

MANILA, Philippines — Malacanang said Thursday that the outgoing Duterte administration is still exploring measures to handle the country’s PHP12-trillion debt.

In a press statement, acting Presidential Spokesperson and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said, “Reducing the country’s debt remains a priority.”

According to Andanar, President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic team has presented a fiscal consolidation and resource mobilization strategy to pay off the country’s massive debt.

“Fair, efficient, and corrective tax policies” are included in the proposal, according to Andanar.

“To raise revenues, these include expanding the value-added tax (VAT) base by removing unproductive VAT exclusions save for specific sectors,” he stated.

However, Andanar admitted that the recommendations of the outgoing economic managers are “subject to consideration by the new Administration.”

In March, the national government’s debt reached a new high of PHP12.68 trillion.

According to the Bureau of Treasury, the next government will need to raise additional revenues of up to PHP249 billion each year for the next ten years to avoid amassing new loans to pay for maturing debts.

To enhance government revenues, the Duterte administration’s proposed fiscal and resource mobilization consolidation program calls for new taxes to be imposed during the next three years, as well as the removal of some existing tax exemptions.

The idea is estimated to generate annual revenue of almost PHP284 billion for the national government.

The suggested strategy would allow the government to “continue to invest in socioeconomic initiatives, keep our credit ratings, and grow out of our debt,” according to outgoing Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

The exiting economic team’s suggestions, according to Dominguez, are “doable” and “intended to secure the achievements” earned during the Duterte government.

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