Asian Development Bank approves another US$200 million loan for the Philippines
MANILA – The Philippine government’s emergency cash subsidies to vulnerable households due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be sustained with another US$200 million loan the Asian Development Bank approved today.
“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,” said ADB Vice President Ahmed M. Saeed. He explained the new loan supports the government’s emergency subsidy program designed to help vulnerable households get through these trying times and avoid falling into poverty.
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% in 2015 to 16.6% in 2018, translating to 5.9 million Filipinos escaping poverty during this period, the ADB said in a statement.
Last March 24, President Rodrigo 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 which extends cash payments of P5,000 (US$98.63) to P8,000 (US$157.81) per month for two months to 18 million low-income families across the country. The program includes 4.3 million poor households covered under the country’s conditional cash transfer (CCT) program popularly known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). ADB has supported the 4Ps CCT Program since it began ten years ago.
ADB’s US200 million loan, uder the Social Protection Support Project-Second Additional Financing, will contribute to the US$726 million needed to provide emergency subsities to 4Ps households in April and May 2020.
The financing package is part of ADB’s comprehensive support to the Philippines to cushion the impact of the pandemic on th economy and the well-being of Filipinos. It comes after the signing of the US$1.5 billion loan for ADB’s COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support program last April 23. Two grants have been extended last March amounting to US$8 million to support th delivery of food baskets to at least 140,000 vulnerable households in Metro Mani.a and nearby provinces, purchase of emergency medical supplies, and the construction of a new laboratory to further increase the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity by 3,000 tests a day.
The Asian Development Bank is preparing an Expanded Social Assistance Program to support the government’s medium-term financing of the 4Ps program. (Melo M. Acuña)
Asian Development Bank Vice President Ahmed M. Saeed. (ADB Photo)