DOF to raise P70 B for COVID-19 vaccines

Published January 15, 2021, 3:53 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Department of Finance (DOF) is working on fresh loans from multilateral financial institutions, bilateral partners and domestic creditors to fund the government’s coronavirus response programs.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said they are now working to borrow $1.46 billion, or roughly P70 billion, from foreign or local sources to fund the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines that can inoculate at least 50 million Filipinos.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The P70 billion forms part of the P82.5 billion budget required by the government to provide COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate adult Filipinos. 

To date, the government already identified P12.5 billion, of which, P10 billion will come from the funds allocated for the COVID-19 vaccination program under the Bayanihan To Recover As One Act and P2.5 billion from the Department of Health 2021 budget.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank  (AIIB) are among the sources of funding for the vaccine fund, Dominguez said.   

“We will fully recover from this crisis once a safe and effective vaccine becomes available to us, on the strength of our enduring macroeconomic fundamentals,” Dominguez said in a statement. 

The ADB has so far been the biggest loan provider to help finance  the Philippines’ COVID-19 response programs. 

As of December 15, ADB has approved and signed with the DOF a total of $3.93 billion in loans and another $8 million in grants related to the government’s pandemic response measures.

A total of $2.27 billion in loans  has been secured by the DOF from the World Bank, while another $750 million will be provided by the Beijing-led AIIB. 

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has also signed a $458.95-million loan with the DOF for the second phase of its Post-Disaster Standby Loan and another $458.95 million loan for the government’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support program.

Japan has also extended a US$18.36-million non-project grant aid for the provision of medical equipment to the DOH.  

France’s L’Agence Française de Développement has provided $276.2 million, while Korea, through its Korean Export-Import Bank–Economic Development Cooperation Fund, has pledged $100 million. 

A total of $5.1 billion was raised through the issuance of US-dollar denominated global bonds in April and December.