Foreign loans to fund COVID-19 response now at $6.4 B

Published June 15, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

The government has so far secured US$6.4 billion in foreign loans from multilateral lenders and the commercial markets to help bankroll its coronavirus response.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/ MANILA BULLETIN)
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
(ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Of the budget support financing, President Duterte said the US$6.2 billion represents newly contracted loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as well as recent issuance of US-denominated global bonds.

Around US$108 million in grant and loan financing from ADB and World Bank have also been contracted to support various projects of agencies involved in the COVID-19 response, according the President.

The President earlier directed the economic team to find additional funding sources, even if it has to borrow money, to sustain the government’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. He previously admitted that the government was running low on funds for the coronavirus-related programs.

In his report to Congress, the President cited that the Department of Finance recently signed a P750-million loan agreement with AIIB to support the government’s efforts to stem the coronavirus outbreak and augment funds to address the health crisis.

He said the latest loan facility is a “parallel” financial agreement with ADB for the COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support (CARES) program. CARES program, Duterte said, is a quick-disbursing budget support facility designed to fund the government’s coronavirus response.

COVID-19 budget

As of June 11, hte President said no additional allotment and cash allocations were released. He said the government agencies have been asked to submit reports on or before June 19 on the “comprehensive picture of government resources” used to respond to the pandemic.

The Department of Budget and Management recently reported that around P354.4 billion in cash allocations have been set aside for the COVID-related programs as of June 9.The funds are mostly sourced from pooled savings from discontinued programs as well as unprogrammed appropriations in the 2020 national budget.

 
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