AIIB approves $300-M loan for PH COVID-19 vaccine rollout – Chinese envoy

Published March 26, 2021, 3:45 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The Philippines’ application for a $300-million loan to support its COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) vaccine rollout has been approved by the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said on Friday.

A health worker prepares the vaccine made by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac at the Sta. Ana Hospital on March 2, 2021. (Manila Public Information Office photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Glad to learn that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) just approved a loan of USD300 million to the Philippines for its vaccine rollout!” Huang said in a post on his official Facebook account.

Huang said this is the second financing extended to the Philippines under the AIIB’s COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility (CRF) following the approval of a $750 million loan last year.

“The loan is expected to support the Philippines in providing timely access to eligible vaccines that would accelerate its nationwide immunization as well as economic and social recovery,” the Chinese envoy said in a portion of his social media post.

The Duterte administration’s second financing plan was originally mentioned earlier this month by AIIB president Jin Liqun during his keynote address at the virtual inaugural of the Manila Forum hosted by the Chinese Embassy and the Association of Philippines-China Understanding (APCU).

The Chinese diplomat said the granting of the loan demonstrates AIIB’s commitment to supporting its members in responding to the COVID-19 crisis and addressing development challenges.

“I’m happy that AIIB is providing strong support to the Philippines, a founding member of this vibrant international financial organization,” he said.

Aside from the latest $300 million loan from China’s AIIB, the Philippine government also secured separate loans from World Bank amounting to $500 million under the COVID-19 emergency response project additional financing and $400 million from the Asian Development Bank under the second Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 (HEAL 2), sourced from the Asia Pacific Vaccine Facility (APVAX).

The announcement of the AIIB’s loan approval came days after the Philippines filed a diplomatic protest against China over the presence of more than 200 Chinese vessels in Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun Reef) in the West Philippine Sea.