President Duterte’s chief economic manager on Thursday said there was no need to sell government assets to raise more money for COVID-19 response.

In an interview on PTV-4 Thursday night, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III was asked if the government must dispose of properties such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and other prime properties along Roxas Boulevard, as earlier mentioned by the President.

Dominguez replied: “I don’t think so.”

“Alam ho n’yo, pagpasok natin dito sa COVID-19 emergency, we were in a very good financial position, exactly because of the policies of President Duterte,” Dominguez said.

“Number one, he increased our revenues. Number two, he spent money very wisely. And number three, because of that, tumaas ‘yung credit rating natin, at ‘yung reputation natin as a good borrower is very, very high—it’s the highest-ever achieved by the Filipino people. We are now ‘BBB+’—ang next step natin, nasa ‘A’ na tayo,” Dominguez said, referring to the country’s credit ratings.

Tax reform was among the reasons cited by debt watchers for the Philippines’ improving ratings.

Credit ratings are a measure of a government’s creditworthiness. As the stability of state finances was also related to a country’s performance, credit scores serve as a proxy grade for the economy.

Improved ratings would allow the government to demand lower rates when it borrows from lenders, which could translate to lower interest rates for consumers and businesses borrowing from banks using government-issued debt paper as benchmarks for their loans.

The Philippines current enjoys investment grade credit ratings from the top three debt watchers, namely Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investors Service, and S&P Global Ratings.

“So the President has really done a very good job economically—we kept on growing. And we are in a good position,” Dominguez said.

“Of course, the worst possible scenario, that maybe at some point we may have to sell some assets, but at this point, that’s not yet necessary. And frankly, I don’t think that will be necessary na we have parang ‘fire sale’—I don’t believe that will ever happen,” Dominguez added.

Investopedia defined fire sale as “selling goods or assets at heavily discounted prices.”

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