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ADB grants new loan for PH gov’t cash subsidies

By CHINO S. LEYCO

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved another loan for the Philippines to support the government’s effort to provide emergency cash subsidies to vulnerable households amid novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, Ahmed M. Saeed, ADB vice-president, said the Manila-based multilateral institution approved a ₱200 million loan for the country to help its vulnerable households get through the crisis and avoid falling into poverty.

“This global pandemic, of a kind not seen in the last century, has disrupted the livelihoods of millions of Filipinos and could set back the very substantial gains the country has made in reducing poverty in recent years,” Saeed said.

High, sustained economic growth and job creation in recent years and the government’s social assistance programs have combined to reduce the Philippines’ national poverty rate from 23.3 percent in 2015 to 16.6 percent in 2018.

The reduction translated to to 5.9 million Filipinos escaping poverty during the three-year period.

Last month, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed into law the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act” — or Republic Act No. 11469 — authorizing the government to implement a COVID-19 emergency subsidy program.

The cash assistance amounting to ₱5,000 to ₱8,000 per month for two months is given to 18 million low-income families nationwide.

The subsidy program includes 4.3 million poor households covered under the country’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

ADB has been supporting the 4Ps CCT program since 2010.

ADB’s $200 million loan, under the Social Protection Support Project–Second Additional Financing, will contribute to the $726 million required to provide emergency subsidies to 4Ps households in April and May 2020.

The loan is part of ADB’s comprehensive support to the Philippines to mitigate the damaging effects of the pandemic on the economy and well-being of Filipinos.

It comes after the signing of the $1.5 billion loan for ADB’s COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support program on April 23.

Two grants approved in March totaling $8 million are supporting the delivery of food baskets to at least 140,000 vulnerable households in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, purchase of emergency medical supplies, and setting up of a new COVID-19 laboratory.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://business.mb.com.ph/2020/04/28/adb-grants-new-loan-for-ph-govt-cash-subsidies/)

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