COVID-19 vaccine budget ‘prompt, substantial’—DOF

Published March 30, 2021, 5:30 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the “prompt and substantial” financing extended by the Philippines’ multilateral partners for its vaccination program will help accomplish the government’s target of herd immunity.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III (Photo credit: https://www.dof.gov.ph/about/secretarys-page/)

During the virtual launching of the loan agreements for the COVID-19 vaccination program with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Dominguez reiterated their commitment to inoculate 70 million Filipinos.

Dominguez said the government is fully committed to accelerate the rollout of its national vaccination program in order to safely reopen the economy and restore the jobs lost since COVID-19 sparked a pandemic last year.

“On behalf of the Philippine Government, I express my deepest gratitude to the World Bank, ADB, and AIIB for extending a total of $1.2 billion in financing for the procurement of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for the Filipino people,” Dominguez said.

The finance chief said that under the terms of these loans, the multilateral institutions will help the government purchase the vaccines through their stringent procurement rules and guidelines and then pay the vaccine suppliers directly. 

The financing packages will also follow global best practices on safeguard measures, Dominguez said.

He said the swift response of the World Bank, ADB and AIIB to the Philippines’ call for support reflects their confidence in the government’s capability to effectively implement its COVID-19 response measures, including the national vaccination program. 

The government, through the Department of Finance (DOF), has secured the following loans totalling $1.2 billion (around P58.4 billion) for COVID-19 vaccine procurement.

World Bank committed $500 million for the Philippines’ COVID-19 Emergency Response Project, $400 million from ADB’s Second Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 (HEAL 2) and $300 million HEAL 2 loan from the AIIB. 

“We appreciate our multilateral partners’ responsiveness and flexibility in providing appropriate and timely financing support to cater to our specific needs during this pandemic,” Dominguez said.

“They stood side by side with us throughout this battle by giving us the ample ammunition we need to quickly recover from this health crisis,” he added.

ADB Vice President Ahmed Saeed said the ADB, along with the WB and AIIB, “will need to work with our developing member countries and vaccine suppliers to ensure equitable and timely access to vaccine supplies.”

 
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