Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Wednesday said the country’s debt levels remained manageable despite new borrowings to finance the Covid-19 response.

Speaking at “Tatak ng Pagbabago 2020: The Pre- State of the Nation Address (SONA) Forum,” Dominguez noted that the ratio of debt to gross domestic product (GDP) had gone down to 39 percent.

“We have the capacity to borrow, we are borrowing at very low rates, and we have the capacity to pay for it in the future,” he said.

Even if the debt-to-GDP ratio was brought to 50 percent, debt would still be affordable as interest rates were historically low owing to the country’s good credit rating, the finance chief said.

Due to the pandemic situation, however, tax collections went down by 16 percent compared with last year, Dominguez said.

Acting Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said the government had spent P374.8 billion for the Covid-19 response.

“Our government has enough funds to respond to and fight the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said. Jojo Mangahis