Foreign loans and grants obtained by the Philippines to fight the COVID-19 pandemic reached $ 18.4 billion (about 903 billion pesos) in June, most of which went into the budget, said the Ministry of Finance (DOF).
In a report, the DOF said $ 16.26 billion of these externally sourced funds had been earmarked for budget support.
As of June 25, $ 15.6 billion of these foreign loans as well as the proceeds from offshore bond issues had already been paid to the government, the DOF said.
This budget support financing included concessional loans from multilateral lenders such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the World Bank.
The government had also obtained bilateral loans from aid agencies in France, Japan and South Korea.
The Philippines, likewise, has raised funds commercially through the global bonds denominated in US dollars and euros that they have sold last year and this year.
In addition, it had secured project loan funding from the three multilateral banks, which went directly to specific projects implemented by agencies on the front lines of the pandemic response. The eight project loans, which amount to $ 2.12 billion, include the $ 1.2 billion from the AfDB, AIIB and the World Bank which will be used to pay directly for the vaccines to be purchased by the national government.
In addition to the loans, the Manila-based AfDB and the Japanese government have provided grants totaling $ 26.74 million for the COVID-19 response.
The disbursement of some of these multilateral loans had been âsatisfactoryâ so far, according to recent implementation reports from lenders.
In the case of the $ 600 million extended by the World Bank for the Philippines’ COVID-19 emergency response project this year and last year, 36% or $ 218.54 million has already been spent to equip public hospitals with personal protective equipment and ventilators; step up laboratory testing and train nearly 15,000 health workers in infection prevention and control.
In addition, $ 300 million or half of the World Bank’s $ 600 million loan for the beneficiary FIRST (Rapid, Innovative and Responsive Transformation of Services) Social Protection Project has been disbursed as assistance to beneficiaries. of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program. The AIIB, however, reported that the Philippines had failed to meet its target of extending the doubling rate of COVID-19 infections to 30 days by the end of 2020 as part of the lender’s $ 750 million co-financing. Beijing-based for active COVID-19 response and spending support. program (CARES).
The AfDB, which disbursed $ 1.5 billion for the $ 2.25 billion CARES program, said in February that areas of implementation showing “good progress” included testing capacity, aid social services for 23 million households, the distribution of wage subsidies and support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
But the AfDB has sought improvements in the following areas: implementation of the social improvement program, search for contracts and isolation facilities, job creation and jobs, adequacy of social assistance and loans to MSME.
âBen O. from Vera INQ
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