Solon proposes ‘transparency portal’ for Covid-19 loans, bonds

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A lawmaker has called on the government to create a “transparency portal” that would contain information on foreign loans and bonds relating to the Covid-19 pandemic.

BHW party-list representative Angelica Natasha Co

“To assure the Filipino people that these foreign-sourced funds are spent wisely and well, I suggest to the Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, and Commission on Audit to create a transparency portal for full disclosure of all details of all Covid-19 foreign loans and bonds,” BHW party-list representative Angelica Natasha Co said in a statement.

Co specifically asked the COA to make a thorough audit on the spending of the Covid-19 loans and bonds. “I am confident the foreign lenders would welcome the operation of such a transparency portal,” she said.

Since May 31, the DOF has secured at least $6.7 billion worth of loans and bonds. “We appreciate the moves of the DOF to augment our country’s finances with new foreign loans and global bonds,” the lawmaker remarked.

Co said the terms of the loans and bonds the DOF has secured so far have low rates and maturities ranging from 10 to 25 years, which make debt repayments affordable over the long term.

“I support the suggestion put forward in April 2020 by House deputy speaker Mikee Romero. He said that the national government can raise $10 billion from lenders and bonds investors, banking on our strong creditworthiness to fund Covid-19 response measures and programs,” Co said.

“It is up to the DOF to ascertain the terms, appetite, timing, finer details, and other capital market conditions for such bonds considering other countries have made moves to also issue their own bonds. DOF must also consider the country’s fiscal position over the next 10 to 20 years when the bonds and loans have to be paid.”

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