World Bank approves ₱25-B loan to support PH efforts against COVID-19 spread

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Workers line up at a checkpoint in compliance with quarantine protocols (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 10) — The World Bank has approved a $500 million (about ₱25 billion) loan to support the Philippines' efforts in the fight against COVID-19.

The Washington-based lender announced Friday that its board of executive directors approved the fresh credit line for the Philippines, meant to "support urgent needs" created by the novel coronavirus outbreak as well as to boost capacity in managing disasters.

The funding forms part of a $14-billion funding package available to developing nations to battle the disease, which has infected over 1.6 million people worldwide and took more than 95,000 lives.

"Natural disasters and pandemics disproportionately hurt poor families and communities. Enhancing risk management and the capacity to address these challenges can help ensure that the Philippines can sustain progress in poverty reduction," World Bank Acting Country Director Achim Fock said in a statement.

READ: The coronavirus pandemic could push 11 million people in Asia into poverty, World Bank warns

The Philippines is currently under a state of calamity due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected over 4,000 people.

The new credit line is bigger than the initial $100 million (about ₱5 billion) loan granted by the World Bank last month.

From an initial goal of borrowing up to $2 billion (about ₱100 billion) abroad, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government would now be taking on a $5.6 billion debt (about ₱280 billion) to finance the local COVID-19 response.

The government has so far identified about ₱290 billion worth of programs and projects to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, based on data compiled by CNN Philippines. Finance Spokesperson Tony Lambino earlier said authorities are looking at a ₱600 billion budget, funded by a mix of loans from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, a short-term credit line from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and available funds under the Bureau of the Treasury.