To finance response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine government so far borrowed from foreign lenders and secured grants worth nearly $5 billion, with much of the money already injected into the national budget, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a report, the DOF said $4.05 billion of the P4.858 billion of foreign loans have been disbursed to the government for COVID-19 response.

The $4.75-billion budgetary support financing raised by the DOF for COVID-19 so far included two Asian Development Bank (ADB) loans, two World Bank loans, and the sale of US dollar-denominated bonds offshore.

In April, the Philippines and the Manila-based ADB signed two loan agreements: $1.5-billion COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Program and $200-million Social Protection Support Project-Second Additional Financing.

From the Washington-based World Bank, the country borrowed $500 million through the Third Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan last April.

Of the Social Welfare Development and Reform Project 2-Additional Financing secured from the World Bank last year, “total loan amount is $300 million, of which $200 million is availed for budgetary support purposes in light of COVID-19 response,” the DOF said.

The Philippines’ $2.35-billion global bonds, which fetched record-low coupons for both two tenors when sold in April, will also be used for COVID-19 funding requirements.

Another loan, which was not infused into the budget but earmarked for a specific project—the COVID-19 Emergency Response Project—was signed with the World Bank last April.

On top of these borrowings, the DOF noted that the Philippines also received two grants both from the ADB: $3-million COVID-19 Emergency Response Project, and $5-million Rapid Emergency Supplies Provision.

The documents containing these loan agreements and grants were made available on the DOF’s website.

Edited by TSB



For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.

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