The Philippine government has secured over $5.758 billion in foreign loans for its response to the new coronavirus pandemic.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the financing for the COVID-19 response came from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III earlier said that $2.26 billion in previous external borrowing have already been disbursed for the purpose.

The finance department said it was raising more funds for the pandemic response through domestic and foreign borrowings, since the country enjoys low and concessional interest rates because of its investment-grade credit ratings.

Earlier this month, Congress adjourned its first regular session without passing the proposed Bayanihan recovery bill that included an economic stimulus package worth P1.3 trillion.

In the Senate, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the administration should continue to borrow funds to finance its programs addressing the pandemic and to boost the economy even if the country’s credit rating could be put at risk.

The country needs funds to hire contact tracers, provide incentives to health workers so they would stay on in their jobs, purchase personal protective equipment, provide stimulus funds to businesses, and bring home displaced overseas Filipino workers, Drilon said. INQ


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