Duterte administration obtains 22 WB loans amounting to $7.5 B

Published April 25, 2022, 4:04 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Duterte administration has sealed 22 loan agreements with the World Bank Group (WBG) in the past five-years, bulk of which were used to help finance to country’s war chest against the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Finance (DOF) reported.

In a statement on Monday, April 25, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the Washington-based multilateral institution granted 22 loan accords to the Philippines since President Duterte took office, costing $7.53 billion.

WBG’s total financing support to the government is equivalent to P395 billion.

“Fifteen (15) of these 22 agreements were for an aggregate amount of $6.15 billion [roughly P322.6 billion] and that were utilized for the government’s Covid-19 response program,” the DOF said.

On the sidelines of the the 2022 International Monetary Fund (IMF)-WBG Spring Meetings in Washington D.C., Dominguez met with World Bank’s Vice President and Managing Director for Operations Axel Van Trotsenburg.

Dominguez told Trotsenburg that the Philippines has “deep appreciation” of the assistance extended by the WBG.

Trotsenburg, in turn, thanked Dominguez for his “great leadership and cooperation,” which ensured that the WBG was able to play a useful and effective role in extending its support to the Philippines.

Aside from the WBG, the Philippines also tapped the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for the Philippines’ Covid1-19 vaccination program and budgetary support.

Dominguez said the trilateral cooperation among the world’s major multilateral development banks (MDBs) in jointly providing funding support for the Covid-19 national inoculation program gave this effort the “seal of good housekeeping.”

This has assured Filipinos that the procurement of the vaccine doses were legal and aboveboard, Dominguez said.

The trilateral collaboration among the three MDBs was an offshoot of a proposal broached by Dominguez in 2017 for multilateral institutions to coordinate with each other in eliminating overlapping functions, reducing costs, and being more effective and responsive in providing official development assistance (ODA) to member-countries.

Dominguez said this trilateral cooperation could be replicated to mobilize financing for other development projects, particularly the climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives by emerging economies like the Philippines.