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PH secures $200-M add’l ADB loan

By CHINO S. LEYCO

The Philippines and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed an additional funding support for the national government’s efforts to provide unconditional emergency cash assistance to poor and vulnerable Filipinos, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III

In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the government and the Manila-based lender sealed a $200-million loan to help poor and vulnerable households adversely affected by the quarantine measures imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

This latest loan accord, signed last Tuesday, is the second additional financing provided by the ADB under the Social Protection Support Project (SPSP), which supports the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

Dominguez signed the deal on behalf of the Philippine government, while ADB Country Director for the Philippines Kelly Bird signed it on behalf of the Bank.

“We thank the ADB for its swift and continuing support for the Duterte administration’s efforts to blunt the impact of the worldwide coronavirus outbreak on our people and the economy,” Dominguez said.

“This SPSP loan will help the government achieve the No. 1 priority set by President Duterte in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, which is to save lives and extend a lifeline to millions of poor and low-income Filipinos who lost their incomes and livelihoods,” he added.

ADB Vice President Ahmed Saeed, meanwhile, said they commend the Philippine government for rolling out the emergency subsidy program aimed at helping poor and vulnerable Filipinos get through this health and economic crisis, as the pandemic curve is flattened.

“This $200-million loan to assist the government in financing COVID-19 cash grants to poor households under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) will help achieve this purpose, Saeed said.

The SPSP aims to provide cash grants to beneficiary-families under the 4Ps covered by the emergency subsidies under Republic Act (RA) No. 11469 or the Bayanihan To Heal As One Act.

This budget-support loan will help bridge the immediate financing requirements of the government’s response to this coronavirus crisis through the distribution via cash cards of cash grants to beneficiaries of the 4Ps.

The loan for the project, which carries a maturity period of 29 years inclusive of an 8-year grace period, is expected to be disbursed by June this year.

Last April 24, the ADB and the Philippines signed a loan agreement that would let the Duterte administration access up to US$1.5 billion in budgetary support from the Manila-headquartered lender to augment funds for its stepped-up efforts to contain the global health crisis.

This loan for the COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support (CARES) program is the largest budget support ever extended to the Philippines by the ADB, according to President Masatsugu Asakawa.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://business.mb.com.ph/2020/04/30/ph-secures-200-m-addl-adb-loan/)

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