KASAMA Vol. 15 No. 2 / April-May-June 2001 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

In 1998, The Philippines Paid Out $28.08 in Debt Service for Every $1 Received in Aid Grants

The foreign debt of the Philippines has risen steadily for the last decade and reached nearly $48 billion in 1998. Estimates suggest that this total had increased to more than $52 billion by June 2000. Almost half the long-term public debt is owed to bilateral creditors, of which the largest proportion of $11.6 billion was owed to Japan in 1998. A quarter of the long-term public debt is due to multilateral creditors, mainly the World Bank and IMF, and the remaining quarter is owed to private creditors. There is also substantial long-term debt owed by private companies in the Philippines, this amounted to almost $11 billion in 1998. Short-term debt accounts for around 15 per cent of the total debt.

Debt has been a major burden on the country for many years. Since 1992 debt service payments have exceeded $4 billion per year, with the figure for 1998 standing at $5.1 billion. The government is spending more on debt payments than on health and education combined and for every dollar received in aid grants $28 is spent on servicing the country's debt.

The concept of odious debt is widely recognised as being relevant for the Philippines. Both NGO'S and World Bank officials acknowledge that a large proportion of the country's debt was accrued under the Marcos dictatorship.

The Philippines is not included amongst the 41 countries listed in the HIPC programme. However the country's economy is being monitored by the IMF to assess whether the government have complied with agreed economic and financial policies.

Philippines: Key indicators


Total debt 1998

47,817 million

Total debt service 1998

5,166 million

Debt per person 1998


Debt service per person 1998


GNP per person 1998


Source: Downloaded from the Jubilee Plus web site at

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