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Government readies loans to COVID-19 vaccine suppliers

State-lenders Land Bank of the Philippines and Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) would provide loans to private companies planning to locally supply the coronavirus vaccines for commercial purposes.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that qualified borrowers may tap the two government banks for the sale of any Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved COVID-19 vaccines.

Dominguez said this financing option is aimed at complementing the national government’s COVID-19 immunization program that will cater only to 20 million Filipinos considered as poorest of the poor.

 “They [Land Bank and DBP] can fund loans to qualified borrowers who wish to supply FDA-approved vaccines on a commercial basis,” Dominguez told reporters in a mobile phone message.

Buoyed by the progress in the global race for the coronavirus vaccine, Dominguez said last Friday that the government will purchase P20 billion worth of vaccines once supplies become available. 

 Under the initial plan unveiled by President Duterte, Land Bank and DBP will provide a P20 billion loan to Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC), the state-owned trading firm mandated to purchase the COVID-19 vaccines from overseas.

The PITC will then sell the vaccines to the Department of Health (DOH) payable in several years. The P20 billion worth of COVID-19 vaccines, equivalent to 40 million doses, will be given for free to the poor beneficiaries.

Currently, three pharmaceutical firms from China, a company from the United Kingdom, and another firm from the United States are expected to complete the third stage of the trials of their potential coronavirus vaccines by October.

 Dominguez said the two state-owned lenders can fully fund the estimated P20 billion budget for vaccines without support from the national government due to Land Bank and DBP’s strong balance sheets.

He said Land Bank and DBP, being the third and ninth largest lenders in the country in terms of assets, respectively, will not get any additional capitalization from the national government to fund the loan.

  “The current balance sheets of both GFIs can support the estimated loan requirement of P20 billion. Please recall that since 2016—by hardly collecting any dividends from Land Band and DBP—the national government in effect strengthened their capital bases,” he said.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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