The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided the Philippines—its host country—a P254 million grant to put food on the table for at least 55,000 families in Metro Manila stuck at home for a Luzon-wide quarantine against COVID-19.

In a statement, ADB said it would activate its Rapid Emergency Supplies Provision Project, known locally as Bayan Bayanihan.

The project would “leverage ADB and private sector resources to provide essential food supplies to vulnerable households on Luzon island, including Metro Manila.”

Its immediate objective, ADB said, was “bridge the gap until other support mechanisms are activated.”

The lender said beneficiaries would include the poorest families in the coverage area and informal sector workers who lost their sources of livelihood “because of an extended period of self-isolation and business closures.”

The quarantine measures, ADB said, were “needed to keep the spread of COVID-19 under control.”

It said it hoped to “attract more contributions to support the expansion of the program so more vulnerable households can be supported and for longer periods of time.”

ADB noted that over 3/4 of COVID-19 cases were in Metro Manila and provinces nearby.

Last Tuesday (April 1), the ADB program already delivered 2,000 50-kilogram sacks of rice in Caloocan City, Manila, Pasay City and Quezon City.

The ADB said chosen beneficiary-households will also get food varieties based on the government’s guidelines.

On Friday (April 3) “more food—including rice, drinks, and canned sardines, tuna, and corned beef—will be delivered to households in Malabon,” according to ADB.

The project, the lender said, “will ensure that tens of thousands of the poorest and most vulnerable households in the Philippines will continue to be able to put food on the table as they cope with the impacts of COVID-19.”

Masatsugu Asakawa said the program was “unique” and would combine “core strengths of the government, ADB, domestic and global” philanthropists. Its main objective, he said, was “improve the health, living conditions and resilience of households most affected by the pandemic.”

Last week, Asakawa committed to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III more than P81 billion in additional aid to the Philippines on top of a P154 million grant for a testing lab in Pampanga province.

Edited by TSB


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