World Bank lends PH another $1.2 billion for COVID-19 response

Published July 24, 2020, 10:00 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The World Bank has already disbursed more than a billion dollars for the Philippine government’s efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and emergency relief programs.

According to the Department of Finance (DOF), a total of $1.2 billion, roughly P59.2 billion, in concessional financing disbursements were provided by the Washington-based financial institution to the Philippines since April this year.

The DOF said the financing aims to “support the government’s efforts in containing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and providing emergency relief to families most affected by this unprecedented global health and economic crisis”

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III thanked the World Bank for its immediate response to the government’s urgent need for assistance to ease the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on the country’s economy and its people. 

At end-April, the World Bank has disbursed $200 million as additional financing for the Second Social Welfare and Development Project (SSWDP), and $500 million for the Third Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan (TDRMDP).

There was also another $500 million for the Emergency Covid-19 Response Development Policy Loan (ECRDPL). 

“It has been very challenging for the Philippines and we are very happy that the World Bank has been very responsive to our needs and has provided us with sound advice during this difficult period,” Dominguez said.

Earlier, the World Bank appointed Ndiame Diop as its newly designated country director for Brunei, Malaysia Philippines and Thailand, succeeding Achim Fock, who had assumed the post in an acting capacity.

Dominguez and the other members of the Philippines’ “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure team welcomed Diop as the new World Bank country director for the Philippines and the three other Southeast Asian economies.

Diop said that including the assistance to the Philippines for its pandemic response efforts, the World Bank has so far delivered  a total of $1.9 billion in loans over a one-year period from June 2019 to June this year. 

“Moving forward, the pipeline is really strong with nine projects, many of which are geared towards supporting the government effort to address the crisis as well as helping the recovery,” Diop said.

He also said three of these projects in the pipeline amounting to almost $1 billion “are expected to be approved by September.”