More than 20 years have passed since the late president Ferdinand Marcos was ousted, but governments after him continue to honor questionable debts his regime incurred. This was the lament of the militant think tank Ibon Foundation, which said Marcos’ debts will continue to haunt Filipino taxpayers for the next 19 years.
“As of 2005, the outstanding balance of of Marcos’s foreign debts stood at around $926.72 million or more than P48 billion (at $1:P52). Following the country’s loan schedule, taxpayers will pay for the foreign debts of Marcos until 2025, 39 years after he was ousted from office,” it said.
Ibon said 33 percent of the country’s total borrowings during Marcos’s term did not go to infrastructure development projects or social programs but was pocketed by Marcos and his cronies. This amount translates to more than $8 billion, and the bulk of these may have come from foreign loans, it added.
But the group stressed that the Marcos debts are clearly illegitimate and onerous loans that benefited the private interests of Marcos and his cronies. Of these, it said the largest and most glaring is the notorious Bataan Nuclear Plant with $1.8 billion dollars in interest repayments alone since 1986, and $110.8 million more to go.
“The Filipino people continue to bear these debts at the cost of being denied the right to access basic social services,” it said. On the other hand, Ibon scored the Arroyo regime for claiming to implement “fiscal reforms” to address its deficit and debt woes, without resolving the debt problem.
It said the basic problem is that the national debt is bloated with illegitimate loans such as the Marcos debts. “Instead of implementing anti-people measures to deal with its deficit problems such as new and higher taxes, the government should instead reform its debt management policies, starting with a review of the debts incurred by Marcos to determine which of these are illegitimate and therefore not the obligation of the Filipino people,” it said. -GMANews.TV