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The Present Status of Philippine

Public Borrowings
Lise Paul Dumancas Abitona
Master in Public Administration
School of Public Affairs and Governance
Silliman University
First Semester
SY 2014-2015

10/11/2014

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The Present Status of the Philippine Public Borrowings

Contents:

I. An Overview of the Philippine Fiscal Policies:


Major Issues in Philippine Taxation, Government Expenditures, Budget
Deficits and Public Debts

II. Summary of Philippine Debt Profile and External Debt Ratio

III. Towards Rational Solutions:


Addressing Public Debts and Promoting Economic Progress

A. Citizens Participation and Efficient Public Administration


B. Investment, Education and Research
C. Minimizing Unemployment
D. Sustainable Development and the Protection of Natural Resources
E. Better Trade Restrictions
F. Development Finance

IV. Conclusions and Recommendations

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I. An Overview of the Philippine Fiscal Policies:


Major Issues in Taxation, Expenditures, National Budget Deficit and Debts

Philippine Public Finance is a highly complex form of public management because


it covers the four major political and financial management processes: a) taxation, b)
government expenditure, c) budget processes and d) public debts. These varieties of
governmental functions are performed throughout the fiscal year to facilitate the plans
and goals of the government. Like any other governments, financial management of the
country will predetermine the political and social equity, as well as economic efficiency
and stability.1

The current issues on public debts and economic crisis maybe be traced back
between the years 1979-1986, these were the times when the government revenues
declined by 1.5 percent of GDP while expenditures increased by 3.5 percent. As a result,
by 1986, the government faced the primary deficit of 1.6 percent and the fiscal deficit
increased for over 5 percent of GDP. In 1987, the government adjusted by reducing
primary expenditure by 2.4 percent of GDP. And also, because of a simultaneous
increase in the wage bill, capital spending was cut from 4.7 to 2.7 percent of GDP.
Thereafter, Philippine governments have reacted to revenue shortfalls and by the
beginning in 1998, the tax-to-GDP ratio began to decline. The government deficit
continued to rise until 2002. And in 2003-2004, the government did try to cut its primary
spending by 1.2 percent of GDP. Further, in 2009, the fiscal deficit was 3.9 percent of
the GDP. Since then, because of budget deficits, the country continued to obtain debts

Manasan, Rosario. March 1981. Public Finance in the Philippines: A Review of the Literature. Philippine Institute
for Development Studies.http:// opendocs. ids .ac. uk /opendocs /bitstream/ handle/ 123456789 /3584 /pidswp
8103. pdf?sequence=1. Date Retrieved: September 19, 2014

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and implemented expenditure cuts. The future growth path of the country is now at
stake.2

A summary evaluation on following issues: Taxation, expenditures and Budgeting


will highlight their substantial effects in the Philippine Budget Deficits and in the
National debts.

Improving Revenue performance is one major challenge for the Philippine


government. For the past few decades, the countrys tax ratio capacity is well below its
Asian neighbors due to the following reasons: a) failure to update tax laws and b)
inability of the national and local governments to fully enforce their taxing powers.3Last
August 2014 report4, an estimated P250 billion is lost yearly because of tax evasions.
This would simply mean that the government must necessarily exhaust all the efforts to
raise tax compliance, and it must also curb corruption practices in the revenue agencies.
Therefore, systemic changes in the structures, processes and procedures must be done
to boost revenue collections, and to avoid tax fraud and evasions.

Tax problems led to having huge government deficits, and borrowing money will
be the last resort to be able to finance the public needs. In 2013, the Government
achieved a budget deficit equivalent to 1.4 percent of GDP. 5 And last March 2014, the

World Bank. 2011. Philippines - Public expenditure review : strengthening public finance for more inclusive
growth. Public expenditure review (PER). Washington, DC: World Bank. http:// documents.worldbank.org /curated
/en/ 2011/ 06/ 15491855 /philippines- public- expenditure- review- strengthening-public-finance-more-inclusivegrowth. Date Retrieved: September 19, 2014.
3
Caballes, Aida. 1975. A Study of Philippine Tax Performance, School of Economics, University of the Philippines
(unpublished masters thesis).
4
Habito, Cielito. 04:32:00. August, 17, 2010. A Taxing Problem .Philippine Daily Inquirer.www.
http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20100817-287215/A-taxing-problem. Date Retrieved:
September 19, 2014.
5
Philippine Economic Update: Pursuing Inclusive Growth through Sustainable Reconstruction and Job Creation.
March 2014. Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit, Philippine Country Office,East Asia and Pacific
Region. Report No. 83315-PH.

Page |4

Department of Finance said that Budget deficit is expected to hit the amount of P34.2
Billion which is more or less 2.3 percent of the GDP. 6

University of Asia and the Pacific economist Victor Abola said that the projected
fiscal deficit was mainly due to the huge cost of rehabilitating Typhoon Yolanda-stricken
areas which nailed the amount of P361 billion. The World Bank has offered a $980
million loan package for the rehabilitation project while the Asian Development Bank
has also offered a loan package of $500 million.7

Further, the National government debt to GDP ratio is now 49.2 percent of GDP.
Accumulating large debts implicates that the government must spend more year after
year for the sole purpose servicing its debts. It must be able to upkeep the payments for
interest and for the amortization of the loan principal. As of 2006, data shows that onethird of the countrys annual budget is being allocated for the payments of on debt
interest alone.8

The rising debt service payments have affected and lessen the countrys public
expenditures for the priority areas- such as basic education, health and transport.
Between 1997 and 2010, the shares of the national budget going to the Department of
Education, the Department of Health (DOH) and to capital outlays declined from 18 to
14 percent, from 3 to 2 percent and from 20 to 10 percent respectively. Local
government expenditures have followed a similar trend, with allocations to education,

http:/ /www. worldbank .Org/ content /dam/ Worldbank/ document/ EAP/ Philippines/ Philippine %20Economic
%20Update %20 March %202014.pdf. Date Retrieved: September 19, 2014
6
dela Pea, Zinnia. January 7, 2014 - 12:00am. Budget Deficit.The Philippine Star.http://www. philstar.
com/business/2014/01/07/1275821/budget-deficit-expected-hit-2.3-gdp. Date Retrieved: September 19, 2014.
7
Ibid.
8
Habito, Cielito. Supra: Note3

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health and economic services (including infrastructure) declining and personnel services
and otherpurposes. 9

II. Debt Profile and External Debt Ratio

Over time, more and more loans were acquired by every administration that
passed. Interest from these loans is continually adding to the total amount of money
owed by the government. As reported by the BankoSentral ng Pilipinas, it increased up
to the total amount of P3.54 trillion debts from the local lenders and P1.99 trillion from
foreign creditors (as of November 2013)10. Governor Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. of BSP
also reported that the countrys outstanding external debt approved/registered by their
office stood at US$58.3 billion at end-March 2014. 11

As to the creditors profiles, multilateral and bilateral creditors have the largest
share holding the 37.4 percent of total debt. Foreign holders of bonds/notes are at 35.9
percent, foreign banks and other financial institutions are at 18.3 percent, and foreign
suppliers/exporters are holding 8.4 percent.12 Moreover, currency compositions of
external debt are still in two major currencies: the US Dollars which is 52.9 percent and
the Japanese Yen is 19.3 percent. The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank and
other loans are mostly US Dollar-denominated loans.

Philippine Public Expenditure Review: Strengthening Public Finance for More Inclusive Growth. June 2011. The
World Bank Group in the Philippines: Making Growth Work for the Poor. http://wwwwds.worldbank.Org/external/
default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2011/11/21/000356161_20111121225449/Rendered/PDF/556950ESW0P12
20il0Public0exp0review.pdf. September 19, 2014.
10
Sake Rob. November 2013. http://philnews.ph/2013/11/02/philippine-government-debt-at-p5-64-trillion-as-ofaugust-2013/philippine-debt/. Retrieved:September 19, 2014.
11
Outstanding External Debt Drops Further in Q1 2014. June 20, 2014. http:// www .bsp. gov. ph/ publications
/media. Asp ?id=3449. Retrieved: October 1, 2014.
12
Ibid.

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In terms of the Gross International Reserves (GIR) and external Debt Ratios, the
amount of debt remained sound. The GIR stood at US$79.6 billion as of March 2014
which represented 7.6 times to cover for the short-term debt under the original
maturity concept.13 Moreover, the outstanding external debt as a percentage of gross
national income or GNI has somehow improved this year. In fact, it has declined to 17.9
percent from 19.1 percent from last year. The same trend is observed with the countrys
gross domestic product (GDP), with the ratio down to 21.5 percent in
March 2014 from 22.8 percent last year.

The external debt service ratio (DSR14), has also further improved to 6.5 percent
(March 2014) from 8.0 percent in 2013. Moreover, due to a) increased non-resident
investments in public sector debt papers, (b) Foreign exchange revaluation adjustments,
and (c) adjustments to prior years transactions, records show that the country is now
having a strong liquidity position since its DSR has continued to be well below the
international benchmark range of 20.0 to 25.0 percent.15 Private sector debts have also
declined from US$18.0 billion to US$17.6 billion due to net repayments mainly for bank
liabilities.

One thing that is helping the country to meet all maturing debt obligations is that
most of its external debts are in the nature of medium to long-term (MLT). Hence, the
schedules for debt payments are spread out for longer period of time. As regards to this,
Data showed that the public sector borrowings have a longer average maturity as
13

Ibid.
DSR (Debt service ratio)- the ratio of total principal and interest payments relative to total exports of goods and

14

receipts from services and primary income. Source:Outstanding External Debt Drops Further in Q1 2014. June 20,
2014. http://www.bsp.gov.ph/publications/media.Asp?id=3449. Retrieved: October 1, 2014.
15
Ibid.

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compared to the payments for the private sector. On the other hand, the short-term
external debt comprised consisted largely of trade credits and bank borrowings. 16

III.

Towards Rational Solutions:

Addressing Public Debts and Promoting Economic Progress

A. Citizens Participations and Efficient Public Administration

The need for an effective government has never been considered as the least
important. For citizens, the role of the government is to provide adequate services and
socio-economic security. With this perspective, a good political environment then must
be conducive to progress.

Public management implies not only short-term perspective but building a vision
for the future. It means that there must be proper allocation of financial resources and
having skilled officials who can efficiently implement programs and deliver many
services to the public. Also, these political actors must be able to organize and manage
the finances in the best way to further governmental operations. Hence, the call for
collaboration between citizens, public managers, and public administrators must be
made and altogether overcome the challenges we face in governmental administrations.

Negative practices must be curved down and all other forms of governmental
corruption must be cured. Further, citizens must be imbued with good intentions and
that all must seize every opportunity to increase productivity and outputs. I strongly
believe that it is pointless to focus our accusations towards political leaders because we,
as citizens are also directly responsible to our government. The phrase "doing what
16

Ibid.

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progress requires" is the political idea that we must adapt to detriment the serious
obstacles to progress. Citizens must think rationally. Administrators must also think like
entrepreneurs. Instilling the citizens the ambition to rise and be better will carry social
prestige which will help us develop our economic, social, and political capabilities.

B. Investment, Education, Research and Technology

Economic Growth depends on the improvements in technology, natural


resources, and capital17. Increase of growth rate may involve saving resources for
increased government expenditure in basic research, education and major advancement
of technology. As closely related to Development Financing where the government must
encourage better education, and enabling the capabilities of technology to direct
effective governmental programs, gain investments, greater assets, enhance labor and
financial capital for the purpose of modernization and development.

The government must adapt better instructional designs for its citizens so that
they would then be guided through the process where they could generate ideas, view
challenges from multiple perspective, conduct research and go for numerous public
services. When citizens are properly taught and government is supportive in recognizing
their own abilities, their interests, ideas, needs, and cultural identities, it will help them

understand and participate effectively in the affairs of their community. It can be


viewed as a collaborative effort for achievement of the common good.

Further, Research and Development could demonstrate governmental success. It


will lead to the expansion of knowledge and discoveries. Research will develop the

17

Capital has two components- human capital (the size, skill, and abilities of the work force) and the physical
Capital (in the form of machines and equipments that have a long productive life).

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major governmental services and programs especially in health, agriculture,


environmental concerns, etc.

Furthermore, through research and development, political behaviors can also be


developed, accountability can strengthened and the laws can be properly studied and
implemented. Social research can even determine the every citizen's impact on the
society. This example illustrates that there can be possibilities for the improvement of
the individuals quality of life.

As regards to economics, research helps market companies to make economic


projections and formulate appropriate strategies. Even market economies conduct
surveys to understand the needs of the community so that they can provide for the
latter's' consumptions.

C. Minimizing Unemployment

Labor force participation rate and income affect a great deal in the economic
systems. Regular income for citizens would generate the economic steadiness and will
uphold the continuing movement of money throughout the economic system. 18 The
basic idea of income is consumption possibilities, economic transfers and tax payments
for the government. 19

As in the case of the Philippines, the probable cause of unemployment is the


unavailability of jobs. Further, the country's growing population of about a 8 million,
18

Minimizing State Unemployment. March 8,2013. http://blog.primepay.com/payroll-business-experts-blog/ bid


/87258/ Minimizing-Your-State- Unemployment-Insurance-Tax-Rates-2-Part-Series#sthash.0R9bqKSh.d puf. Date
Retrived: October 7,2014.
19
OECD 2012, ncome inequality and growth: The role of taxes and transfers, OECD Economics Department Policy
Notes, No. 9. January 2012. http://www.oecd.org/eco/public-finance/49417295.pdf

P a g e | 10

increasing number of citizens are seeking jobs and it is highly competitive that only few
can have one. Another problem is the lack of investors and businesses that could
provide adequate income and jobs.

Unemployment problems must not be ignored because this could absolutely


result to slower economic growth. The major goal of the government and its
macroeconomic policies is either maintain and increase its employment rates. In
answering this problem, governments have adaptive several schemes to stabilize and
protect its economy. First, there must be financial sector regulation which will require
institutions and banks to hold adequate reserves, separate the ownership of financial
institutions and the mandatory insurance of accounts against loss. Second, there must
be monitoring mechanism to ensure the continual health of the economy. And lastly,
social policies must be implemented to protect the unemployed and to help them
temporarily until they could find jobs. 20

D. Sustainable Development and the Protection of Natural Resources


(Developing our own Comparative Advantage through the use of our own resources)

Natural resources such as land, water and minerals are the major resources used
for production. These resources are responsible for the living conditions of all entities
around the world. For instance, the country can be very rich or poor depending on how
it can manage the use of its available resources. As for sustainability, all citizens must
also be responsible in the protection of natural resources to sustain a good life for
themselves and for the future generations to come. A good environment will also

20

Kroon, George E. 2007. Macro-Economics: The easy Way. Barron's Educational Series, Inc, USA.

P a g e | 11

sustain the right to enjoy other socio-economic rights. Hence, appropriate regulations
must be done to prevent the physical environmental damages.

Because the people can obtain income through natural resources, they must also
value their resources and support its growth. This method can be done through the
support on eco-tourism, marketing support for products generated from natural
resources, promotion of soil and water conservation, development in agroforestry
initiative, fisheries production, etc.21

Further, people must effort to increase the resource Supply. The people must not
be entirely dependent in the environment. They must look for other means of livelihood
and the government must effort in creating diversified job opportunities. Laws must
mandate Reforestation for greater quantity of resources and improvement of
biodiversity.22

Lastly, I believe in the need of Environmental education and Environmental


management arrangements such as: the limitation of environmental extraction,
participation in the reforestation activities, and enforcement of policies against
destructive fisheries, agricultural or mining operations.

E. Better Trade Restrictions

Protectionism is one way to abstain from trade deficits23 especially that the
competition in the global economy is very strong. This competition with other countries

21

Austria, I. 1995. Developing a community-based marketing information system for integrated social forestry
products: the Philippines experience. Unasylva 183 (46): 45-50.
22
Ibid.
23
Trade Deficit- means a country imports more than it exports.

P a g e | 12

in terms of goods and services forced the Philippine businesses to reduce their product
outputs, dismiss workers and in some cases declare bankruptcy.

Government must emphasize the need to protect these local and infant
businesses and industries. In return, these local businesses could also help the country
minimize its unemployment rate and increase its revenues. Other major arguments for
trade protection are based on saving jobs, protecting ourselves from corporatism and
other countries' unfair practices and also for the protection against practices that could
harm the national security.

F. Development Finance

Development Financing is more of raising money for the promotion of short and
long term goals. Basically, the sources for financing developmental programs would
include are cross-border forms of money- foreign aids, borrowings, conditional debts
deals from development finance institutions, National Revenue collections, private
investments, etc. Development Finance supports the process of economic growth and
fairer distribution of wealth. For instance, faster Economic activities cannot be properly
realized without a good physical environment- e.g. infrastructures, communications,
public facilities and recreations, etc. Hence, the Philippine government must also
implement programs, through development financing, directed to finance its physical
amenities to help businesses improve their sales, acquire more capital, offer more jobs
and increase the citizens economic consumptions.24

24

Glennie, Jonathan. June 26, 2013. Beyond development finance: what are the benefits of specific global policy
changes?. http:// www. odi. org /comment /7546 -beyond- development- finance- benefits- specific-global- policychanges. Retrieved: October 8, 2014.

P a g e | 13

At present, though foreign aid and borrowings are most common source for
development financing, poor countries are also doing their level best to grow their own
resources and manage them better to reduce reliance and refrain from political control.
Paying the costs for future progress, would mean investing time and political will in
global policy reforms. Thus despite the help we received from other state and non-state
actors, the government and its citizens must also be encouraged to accumulate our own
resources to finance and promote our own development.

IV. Conclusions and Recommendations

Economic Expansion and Debt Alleviation25.

A rising tide lifts all boats describes that once an economic system will boom,
everyone will benefit from it. The health of economy economic system influence us all.
Scientifically, the statistics about national income, unemployment, inflation, trade
balances and deficits would tell us that these variables are correlated and that the
problem of each one will have a direct effect on the other. As I have mentioned in the
earlier chapters, expansion of economy would mean the combining measures of
increased goods and services, increased employment rates, expansion of business,
increased governmental purchases, increased salaries and transfer payments etc.
Thence, Debt Relief is reached through collaborative financial growth between
individuals, businesses, and public institutions.

However, we must first turn our attention to economic activities within the
internal or domestic sector. Domestic price stability, full employment, better revenue
collections, etc. for sustainable economic growth. True, that because of high
25

partial or total forgiveness of debt, or the slowing or stopping of debt growth.

P a g e | 14

dependency in international loans, creditor institutions would require us to have


structural adjustment reforms (e.g. which sometimes includes privatization of public
utilities, international trades resulting to trade deficits and even allowing foreign
investors to monopolized the local economy and leading to a widening of the global
wealth gap). To qualify for debt alleviation, I would suggest that the government must
first implement and maintain its own macroeconomic stability.

One simple solution for solving poverty is to develop our own Comparative
Advantage through the use of our own resources and human capital. I believe that our
country is capable of producing its own goods and services that is cheap in terms of the
opportunity cost of producing those goods. For instance, with the countrys fertile lands
and good weather conditions, the government must exert effort in developing its
agricultural business sectors. Further, our labor force is also highly competitive. And
with the help of good technology, training and education, the country can also develop
its knowledge capital which is also considered as an acquired source of competitive
advantage. These two: Natural Resources and Labor- are the basis of trade and in the
same terms, they would help the economic activities of country.

The market system will in no doubt help the economic growth of the country.
However, it must not be left alone. This research shows that society and government
must timely interfere with the market most especially when latter fails to perform its
functions well. We must acknowledge the need for some interference because it will
result to a positive outcome. For instance, governance can reduced monopoly power
through legal restrictions, public utility regulation and government production.

International Free trade can also be encouraged but there must be adequate
measures to protect the environment, the health and wellbeing of the citizens, and the

P a g e | 15

national sovereignty. True that global economic operations would have the effect of
increased powers of industrialized nations, but country must prioritized its local
businesses to refrain from post-colonial exploitation. Adequate laws for taxing foreign
trades can be one example to advance the businesses in the local markets. If too much
imports are permitted offering lower prices, no buyer will be willing to pay high prices
offered by the local marketers and the result would be detrimental to the latter.

On the other hand, the country must have good governmental practices and
organizational transparency.26

Bad fiscal policies and the lack of implementation

capacity will affect the governments future fiscal objectives. For instance, Aside from
power and authority of leaders in the system, the ability to organize or reorganize the
governmental functions will provide a platform for successful fiscal actions.

27

The

importance of networks and the development of mutual support system between the
governmental authorities and the society will foster the countrys political and civic
spectrum. Leaders must take their relationship with the public seriously through good
communications and constructive public support.

26

Schick, Allen and Brixi, Hana P. 2002. Government at Risk: Contingent Liabilities and Fiscal Risk. The World Bank,
Washington DC.
27
Portz, John and Dukakis, Michael S. 2010. Leader-Managers in the Public Sector: Managing for Results. ME
Sharpe, New York.

P a g e | 16

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Caballes, Aida. 1975. A Study of Philippine Tax Performance, School of Economics,
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Philippine Economic Update: Pursuing Inclusive Growth through Sustainable
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dela Pea, Zinnia. January 7, 2014 - 12:00am. Budget Deficit.The Philippine Star.
http://www.
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com/business/2014/01/07/1275821/budget-deficitexpected-hit-2.3-gdp. Date Retrieved: September 19, 2014.
DSR (Debt service ratio)- the ratio of total principal and interest payments relative to
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P a g e | 18

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uk /opendocs /bitstream/ handle/ 123456789 /3584 /pidswp 8103.
pdf?sequence=1. Date Retrieved: September 19, 2014
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