Another $ 300 million loan requested for COVID-19 response

The Philippines is asking the World Bank (WB) for an additional $ 300 million for its COVID-19 emergency response as the government prepares to purchase booster injections for next year.

Documents showed that this second additional funding sought by the Philippines was to be approved by the Washington-based board of the World Bank in fiscal year 2022.

As a reminder, the World Bank this year granted the Philippines an additional $ 500 million to purchase vaccines as part of the emergency response project that began last year.

In 2020, the initial World Bank funding for the COVID-19 emergency response project was $ 100 million. The upcoming loan will inject total funding of $ 900 million into this project.

Earlier documents had shown that the World Bank and the Philippines would restructure the current $ 600 million in project funding to allow the government to tap more vaccine suppliers and speed up mass immunization.

Last week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Philippines was considering borrowing about $ 900 million from multilateral lenders for boosters.

“Exploratory discussions with the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the World Bank have been launched to help determine possible sources of funding for additional vaccine needs in 2022. We plan to execute loan agreements towards the end of the year, ”Dominguez mentioned.

These upcoming loans will fund the 45.3 billion pesos of the proposed 2022 national budget of 5.0 trillion pesos that had been set aside for the booster injections. This amount has been entered in unscheduled appropriations, pending whether the Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases will need reminders.

Unlike regular budget items, non-programmed credits can only be financed by excess revenue or additional foreign borrowing.

—Ben O. from Vera INQ

For more information on the novel coronavirus, click here.

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For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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