COVER STORY

TIMELINE: The COVID-19 response money trail

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Philippine government and private donors stepped up with billions of pesos worth of aid to address the COVID-19 crisis.

President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress for special powers in March. He said he needed the authority to reallocate funds under the 2020 national budget so that government can respond to the public health emergency.

More than 10,000 infections were tallied as of May 6, with the numbers rising by the day as more Filipinos get tested. National and local governments as well as the private sector teamed up to buy protective gear for healthcare workers, testing kits and machines, buildings retrofitted as quarantine centers, and food and cash aid for poor families displaced by stay-at-home orders and border controls.

The COVID-19 battle is funded largely by the government’s ₱600-billion war chest, with big businesses adding nearly ₱20 billion.

Finance Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino said in an April 7 interview with CNN Philippines that more than half of public funds marked for response and relief efforts will come from loans.

So far, the government has disclosed about ₱649 billion in programs and projects lined up to combat the deadly disease and soften its economic impact. We follow the money trail here, based on President Rodrigo Duterte’s reports submitted to Congress and separate statements made by government agencies:

January 30: The first coronavirus case is recorded in the Philippines: a female tourist from Wuhan, China where the disease originated.

March 6: The Department of Health recorded the first local COVID-19 infection: a man who did not travel abroad but frequented a prayer room in Greenhills, San Juan City.

March 8: Duterte declares a public health emergency

March 10: The Food and Drug Administration cleared the production of COVID-19 rapid test kits by the University of the Philippines, which received ₱53.2 million from the Department of Science and Technology.

March 15: The Asian Development Bank extended a $3-million grant (about ₱150 million) to help the Philippines respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

Metro Manila is placed under community quarantine. Curfews have been imposed in some towns and cities.

March 16: The government unveils a ₱27.1-billion initial spending plan for COVID-19 response: support for the tourism sector (₱14 billion), additional Health department funding for test kits and hospital gear (₱3.1 billion), reskilling of displaced workers (₱3 billion), subsidy to farmers and fisherfolk (₱2.8 billion), cash subsidy for displaced workers (₱2 billion), unemployment benefits for displaced workers (₱1.2 billion), and support to micro businesses (₱1 billion).

The Housing department declared a three-month halt on home loan collections, delaying the turnover of payments worth ₱31.4 billion to the national government.

March 17: The entire Luzon is placed under enhanced community quarantine, limiting movement of people to workers in critical sectors (supermarkets, food production and preparation, banks, media). Public transportation is banned.

March 18: The World Bank opened a $100-million loan line (about ₱5 billion) for local relief efforts.

March 23: The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas opened a ₱300-billion credit line via a bond repurchase deal with the Treasury

March 26: Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act takes effect. It gives Duterte additional powers to realign funds under the 2019 and 2020 budgets for three months. The new law also declared a state of national emergency.

March 25-26: The first batch of 8,641 displaced workers received their one-time ₱5,000 financial aid from the Labor department. The target is to cover 250,000 workers with a ₱1.2-billion budget.

March 28: The Inter-Agency Task Force approved a two-month emergency subsidy program for 18 million families worth ₱200 billion. Families in the provinces will receive ₱5,000 per month, while those in Metro Manila will get ₱8,000.

March 30: The Health department bought one million complete sets of personal protective equipment for health workers for ₱1.8 billion.

April 1: The Social Welfare department received an initial ₱100 billion for the first month of the cash subsidy to poor families.

RELATED: Problem lies in swift aid rollout, not budget under lockdown extension, lawmakers say

The Department of Finance received ₱78.64 billion in early dividend payments from government-owned and -controlled corporations. The agency pushed back the income tax payment deadline to May 15, delaying the collection of ₱145 billion in revenues.

The Department of Public Works and Highways, together with private construction firms, began retrofitting the Philippine International Convention Center Forum Halls and World Trade Center in Pasay City and the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila as quarantine facilities for ₱29.96 million.

April 2: PhilHealth began releasing ₱27 billion to 5,094 health facilities nationwide to cover the bills of COVID-19 patients.

April 3: Landbank began the distribution of ₱16.35 billion in cash aid to 3.7 million families as part of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.

The Budget department identified ₱189.8 billion worth of projects under the 2019 and 2020 budgets that will be discontinued. Of this, ₱4.2 billion came from subsidies to government corporations. The money will be realigned for COVID-19 response efforts.

A ₱5.2-billion additional budget is allotted to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (₱3.9 billion), Department of Health (₱600 million), Department of Interior and Local Government (₱520.6 million), Department of Science and Technology (₱53.2 million), and Department of Labor and Employment (₱100 million).

READ: Most Cabinet members donate 75% of pay to gov't efforts for duration of COVID-19 crisis

April 6: Duterte signed Administrative Order 28 that granted a one-time special risk allowance for medical frontliners, which is worth 25 percent of a public health worker’s basic pay.

April 7: The Luzon lockdown is extended to April 30.

The Budget department released the ₱30.824-billion “Bayanihan Grant” to local government units to sustain relief efforts.

April 8: DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III announces ₱1.5 billion cash aid for overseas Filipino workers displaced by lockdowns abroad. They will get $200 or ₱10,000 each.

April 9: ​Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III admits that the Philippine economy would see "zero growth" or even contract this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He adds that the government will now borrow $5.6 billion (about ₱280 billion) from the World Bank and ADB, triple the original borrowing plan capped at ₱100 billion.

Dominguez also reveals a ₱1.17-trillion response plan, consisting of four pillars: emergency support to the vulnerable, additional resources to fight COVID-19, fiscal and monetary actions, and an economic recovery plan.

Social Welfare Secretary Rolando Bautista admits difficulties in distributing cash aid to families.

April 10: The World Bank approves a $500 million (about ₱25 billion) loan for the Philippines' COVID-19 response.

April 13: Workers in micro, small and medium enterprises will also receive cash aid through the ₱51 billion Small Business Wage Subsidy Program, an aid intended for some middle-class Filipinos.

Dominguez says the country is "financially prepared" for quarantine measures until end-May.

April 21: The Finance department says the government's response package is now worth ₱1.49 trillion, which will require some ₱310 billion (about $6 billion) in borrowings from foreign sources.

Of this response package, the government intends to spend ₱648.521 billion through a mix of subsidies, loan lines, and additional medical equipment. Nearly a third of the amount covers the cash aid to the poorest, while ₱58.5 billion will be spent on test kits, protective gear, health insurance, and additional pay for health workers.

April 24: Economic managers admit that cash is running low for COVID-19 measures, saying that it has already released ₱352 billion out of the ₱397 billion which the government has realigned under the national budgets. Dominguez says government may need to ask Congress for authority in tapping additional funds, as they hold the power of the purse.

ADB approves a $1.5-billion (about ₱76 billion) loan to boost the local COVID-19 response.

April 27: ADB extends another $200-million (about ₱10 billion) loan to help the government provide emergency cash aid to poor homes.

Government releases some ₱245 billion in savings from canceled programs and special purpose funds to augment response funding, the President says in his weekly report to Congress.

April 28: The Treasury raises $2.35 billion (about ₱119 billion) by offering 10- and 25-year dollar bonds to global investors, which fetched record-low rates.

WATCH: COVID-19 response budget: Is it enough?

May 2: The Interior department says it will add five million families in the list of families entitled to cash aid. This could be worth at least ₱25 billion if they are to receive a one-time aid worth ₱5,000.

May 4: Duterte signs an executive order that temporarily raises import duties on crude oil and refined fuel products by another 10 percent to raise more revenues. This comes as world crude prices hit fresh lows.

May 5: State-owned corporations remit ₱129.45 billion in cash dividends, meant to boost the COVID-19 fight.

The Philippine National Police turns over a ₱228-million donation to the Finance department representing portions of cops' salaries which they waived to help fund response measures.

May 6: Dominguez says the Executive will no longer ask Congress for a supplemental budget, citing the need to be prudent as government revenues decline.

May 7: The United States government donates an additional ₱298 million to the coronavirus response fund, bringing its total contribution to ₱768 million (about $15.2 million). 

Private companies pitch in

The bayanihan spirit also stirred conglomerates and even small business owners to take part in financial relief during the Luzon-wide quarantine, which has spilled over to other provinces and cities.

The Project Ugnayan coalition ran the biggest pool of donations, which reached ₱1.7 billion. The funds came from 36 companies in partnership with civic group Caritas Manila and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation. The money will be converted into gift checks worth ₱1,000 each and handed out to 1.5 million families, which they can bring to grocery stores to buy food and other essentials.

READ: NGCP donates ₱1 billion assistance to frontline health workers

CNN Philippines compiled statements and pledges of these companies for the COVID-19 response, which amounted to nearly ₱20 billion. The figure does not include other in-kind donations made by more private firms such as PPE, food and water supplies, hygiene kits, and COVID-19 test kits directly delivered to frontliners.

A number of conglomerates have stepped up by deploying teams to retrofit select government-run buildings in a matter of days to serve as quarantine facilities for returning overseas Filipinos as well as suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms.

Others offered private property to be used as swabbing centers, like the Dennis Uy-owned Enderun Tent and the Sy-run Mall of Asia Arena. For such arrangements, the government estimates to pay them ₱511 million, based on Finance department estimates as of April 21.

The private sector also started Project Antibody Rapid Test Kits, otherwise known as Project ARK, where they raised 1 million kits to be used for testing in local government units as well as on employees returning to work.