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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

US$500 million loan up for the Philippines

World Bank earmarks US$500 million for the Philippines

MANILA – Additional funds will come to the Philippines in support of its national disaster risk management capacity and response to COVID-19.

In a statement datelined Washington received a few minutes ago, World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$500 million to support the Philippines’ urgent needs due to COVID-19 crisis.

Under the Third Risk Management Development Policy Loan, the fund is part of World Bank’s “long-standing support” to the country’s broader policy reform efforts to enhance resilience and proficiency to prepare for and recover from disasters. The loan follows two earlier Risk Management Development Policy Loans extended in 2012 and 2015.

The Philippine government is in the process of strengthening the country’s institutional framework for disaster risk management through a creation of a new department for Disaster Risk and Resilience.

“The World Bank is committed to supporting efforts to strengthen the Philippines’ capacity to prepare for and respond to natural disasters as well as health and economic shocks like COVID-19,” said Achim Fock, World Bank Acting Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. He said natural disasters and pandemics disproportionately hurt poor families and communities. By enhancing risk management and the capacity to address these challenges will help ensure the Philippines can sustain progress in poverty reduction.

With the loan, it is expected the Philippines will adopt and implement a unified disaster rehabilitation and recovery planning framework along with local government units. The government is expected to promote integrated hazard and risk analysis in physical planning, and in support of policy development. The government is also projected to develop multi-year investment plans for seismic risk reduction and retrofitting of important government structures and implement an emergency cash transfer program during shocks.

According to the World Bank, the Philippines is one of the most hazard-prone countries. “Across its 7,641 islands, the Philippines is exposed to multiple natural hazards including typhoons, earthquakes, flooding, storm surges, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and landslides,” the statement added. About 74 percent of the population is vulnerable to natural disasters and 60 percent to total land area is exposed to multiple hazards.

Aside from these natural hazards, the Philippines faces the impacts of the global outbreak of COVID-19 as President Rodrigo Duterte declared a public health emergency and state of calamity which mandates full cooperation among all government agencies and local governments to address the threats from COVID-19.

In addition to these natural hazards, the country is now facing the impacts of the global outbreak of COVID-19. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a public health emergency and a state of calamity, mandating full cooperation among all government agencies and local governments to address the COVID-19 threat.

Earlier, the World Bank expressed its solidarity with the people of the Philippines and works with authorities to support action to address the unfolding COVID-19 emergency through financial support and the needed technical assistance.

The World Bank has prepared a US$14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the COVID-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery. The immediate response includes financing, policy advice, and technical assistance to help countries cope with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is providing US$8 billion in financing to help private companies affected by the pandemic and preserve jobs.n IBRD and IDA are making an initial US$6 billion available for the health response. The World Bank Group will deploy up to US$160 billion over 15 months to protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery, the statement concluded. (Melo M. Acuña)

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