To be paid until 2049: Philippines secures total of P386.6 billion for COVID-19 response

ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group

Posted at Jul 03 2020 12:44 PM | Updated as of Jul 22 2020 03:37 PM

Drivers prepare their jeepneys with plastic barriers in preparation for the possible resumption of jeepney operations in Quezon City on July 02, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippines has secured approximately P386.6 billion in loans, grants, and the issuance of bonds for its coronavirus pandemic response, fresh data from the Department of Finance (DOF) show. 

The running total of $7.73 billion will be paid from 2023–2049, with an average repayment period of 15 years for each loan, based on the amortization schedules indicated in the loan agreement documents available on the DOF website as of July 1.

For loans, nearly all of the amount will come from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), and through the issuance of bonds.

The ADB loans seek to fund fiscal stimulus, mitigate the severe negative impact on economy and poverty caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, improve health and education profile of poor children of the qualified beneficiary households, accelerate infrastructure and long-term investments, among others.

The $26.36 million (0.34%) in grants will meanwhile come from the following: $18.36 million from the Government of Japan for the provision of medical equipment to the Department of Health, and $8 million from ADB for the COVID-19 Emergency Response Project and for 2-week food baskets for up to 55,000 vulnerable families in Metro Manila.

Of the $7.63 billion for budgetary support financing, more than half (67% or USD5.11 billion) has already been disbursed to the government, according to DOF. 

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President Rodrigo Duterte recently said the pandemic has "eaten up a lot of" the country's treasury, as he called on Filipinos to stay at home to avoid being infected by the pathogen.

In March, Congress granted Duterte special powers to tap some P275 billion in unused government funds to address the crisis.

Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act law, the government was allowed to provide cash aid from P5,000 to P8,000 to 18 million families belonging to low-income households.

Some P355 billion has been spent as of June 24 to address the COVID-19 crisis, according to the Department of Budget and Management. Of the said amount, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said P247.52 billion came from pooled savings while P96.7 billion came from unprogrammed appropriations.

Editor's note: This article was edited to reflect the updated total of loans.