Reviews the Philippine public finance experience over two decades from 1980 to 2000. It notes that in some years, the government's dominant fiscal problems were caused, at least initially, by external economic shocks, with domestic adjustments to them – including political upheavals – resulting in a unique trajectory of development experience. Its review of public finance history covers operational deficits and fiscal stabilization, public expenditure, revenue mobilization, and “hidden” deficits from quasi‐fiscal activities. The study first asserts that the country's fiscal strategy has been influenced for the most part by the need to rein in domestic expenditure to match the level of available fiscal resources. Next, it argues that the growth in public expenditure has largely been constrained by the scarcity of fiscal resources. Finally, it shows that the strengthening tax administration remains a sticking point, as nontax revenues are only temporary measures to bridge the expenditure gap.
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