Philippines secures $ 14.29 billion in loans, grants to fight Covid-19


MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer / ANN): The loans and grants secured by the Treasury Department (DOF) to finance the war chest against Covid-19 totaled $ 14.29 billion (approximately $ 696 billion) in mid-March.

The latest numbers released by the DOF on March 17 have been “rebased to reflect 2020 average exchange rates,” it said.

The updated list of loans and grants from multilateral banks and bilateral development partners did not yet include the $ 500 million loan from the Washington-based World Bank and the $ 400 million funding provided by the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB ) was approved. last week for the Philippines’ Covid-19 vaccination program.

These $ 900 million loans will not take effect until the agreements between the Philippine government and lenders, which were also slated for this month, are signed, Treasury Secretary Mark Dennis Joven said earlier.

In the case of the ADB loan, the bank pays the vaccine suppliers directly, so the money never goes through the government.

According to the DOF, most of the funding raised last year to respond to Covid-19 was poured into the budget for priority programs and projects of $ 13.35 billion (about 650 billion pesos).

The budget support bonds included five World Bank loans totaling $ 2.38 billion and $ 3.8 billion through seven ADB loans.

The Philippines raised a total of US $ 5.1 billion from two rounds of US dollar denominated global bond issues last year.

Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) granted a $ 750 million loan in 2020 for the Philippines’ Covid-19 response.

Among the bilateral partners, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) approved two loans worth $ 936.78 million; The two loans from Agence Française de Développement (AFD) totaled $ 285.22 million; and the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Kexim-EDCF) Economic Development Cooperation Fund granted a $ 100 million loan.

With the exception of two loans, this financing came into effect last year or was added to the budget. In January of this year, the World Bank’s $ 580 million beneficiary social protection project went into effect, while the same lender went into effect in February to boost competitiveness and improve resilience to natural disasters.

For specific projects related to Covid-19, such as buying personal protective equipment (PPE) and improving the capacity of the health system, the Philippines received loans totaling $ 915 million – four from the World Bank totaling $ 790 million $ 125 million and $ 125 million ADB loan – last year.

In addition to these loans, the ADB made $ 8 million in two grants to the Philippines, while the Japanese government made $ 18.74 million to provide the Department of Health (DOH) with medical equipment.

Separately, the Philippines raised a combined US $ 3.28 billion (approx. Pesos 159 billion) to fund various large infrastructure projects that are part of the Duterte government’s ambitious “build, build, build” pipeline.

Last month, Joven said the DOF plans to raise $ 23.71 billion (about 1.15 trillion pesos) in foreign funding from grants, loans and offshore bonds in 2021, in part to fund mass vaccination.

In addition to the World Bank and ADB loans for vaccines, the AIIB should also provide $ 300 million to the Philippines’ second health care system improvement of $ 764.17 million to support the Covid-19 (Heal 2) project address and limit that they have with the ADB and the national government. – Philippine Daily Inquirer / Asia News Network

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