The Philippine government on Sunday unveiled plans to secure nearly $40-billion worth of assistance and loans from development partners and bilateral lenders next year, with the running debt stock at a fresh record high as of end-October.

According to the Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), the government is set to secure $19.1-billion worth of official development assistance (ODA) in 2023, following the $85.5-million worth of grants and technical assistance implemented this year.

The administration also eyes $9.2-billion worth of loans from multilateral development partners, and $9.8 billion in loans from bilateral lenders in the coming year.

Latest data available from the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) shows that the outstanding debt stock stood at P13.64 trillion as of end-October, up by 0.92% or P123.92 billion from the end-September level of P13.517 trillion.

In the same statement, the OPS said collections of the main revenue agencies — the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) — reached P3.2 trillion based on the year-end report of the Department of Finance (DOF).

This is higher than the initial revenue target of P3.3-trillion for the entire year, but lower than the P3.515-trillion projection made by inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC).

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno in November expressed optimism that the government wouldsurpass its collection goal this year. But the DBCC, earlier this month, announced an even higher revenue projection given the better-than-expected performance in the first 10 months.

The OPS said the administration will focus on rightsizing the DOF bureaucracy, working toward streamlining its organization and processes to maximize efficiency and the use of public funds.

It also eyes the passage of key measures, such as the proposed excise tax on single-use plastics, value-added tax on digital service providers, ease of paying taxes, and the mining fiscal regime.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said in July that taxes on digital transactions, a measure long backed by Diokno, could generate P11.7 billion in 2023.

“Tax administration reforms will be implemented to enhance tax efforts, maximize the government’s revenue potential, simplify taxpayer compliance and automate the BIR and BOC processes,” the OPS said. — DVM, GMA Integrated News