The Department of Finance said Friday it secured $13.36 billion in loans and grants from external sources for the government’s COVID-19 response programs in 2020.
It said it was working to raise another $1.46 billion (P70 billion) from multilateral lenders, bilateral partners or the domestic market for the procurement of vaccines to inoculate at least 50 million Filipinos against the lethal virus.
The P70 billion forms part of the P82.5-billion budget required to provide COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate adult Filipinos. The remaining amount of P12.5 billion will come from the P2.5-billion portion of the budget of the Department of Health under the 2021 General Appropriations Act.
The P10 billion will come from the funds allocated for the COVID-19 vaccination program under Republic Act No. 11494, or the Bayanihan To Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2).
The Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are among the sources of funding for the vaccine fund.
“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,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said in a statement.
Data showed the ADB was the biggest loan provider for the Philippines’ COVID-19 response programs. It 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 as of Dec. 15.
About $2.27 billion in loans was secured by the DOF from the World Bank, while another $750 million will be provided by the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The government of Japan, through Japan International Cooperation Agency, signed a $458.95-million loan with the DOF for the second phase of its Post-Disaster Standby Loan to the Philippines and another $458.95 million loan for the government’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support program in the third quarter of 2020.
Japan also extended a $18.36-million non-project grant for the provision of medical equipment to the DOH.
France’s L’Agence Française de Développement provided $276.2 million, while Korea, through the Korean Export-Import Bank-Economic Development Cooperation Fund, pledged $100 million. Julito G. Rada
The DOF also raised $5.1 billion through the issuance of US-dollar denominated global bonds in April and December.
Dominguez said the government’s strong fiscal profile enabled it to quickly put together a comprehensive COVID-19 response strategy when President Rodrigo Duterte decided in March to place the entire Luzon and other parts of the country on a strict lockdown to save human lives and protect communities from the virus.
The strategy provided targeted assistance amounting to P183.2 billion to about 18 million Filipino families most affected by the economic repercussions of the pandemic, and another P45.8 billion in wage subsidies for around 3.1 million workers of small businesses.
The total of P229 billion in lifeline assistance extended to these sectors make it the largest social protection program in the country’s history, Dominguez said.
Dominguez said that in 2021, the government would roll out economic recovery program. He said the “most important and largest stimulus measure” would be the P4.506 trillion General Appropriations Act for 2021, which was signed into law by President Duterte on Dec. 28.
He said the 2021 budget “will provide us with some of the heftiest tools necessary to rebuild our economy,” which the government expects to rebound by 6.5 to 7.5 percent this year.
Congress also extended the validity of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or the Bayanihan 2 Law to June 30, 2021. Julito G. Rada