THE Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) announced it has extended P6.13-billion in loans to enterprises badly hit by the economic shock of the Covid-19 pandemic and earmarked interest subsidies amounting to P27.13-million to local government units (LGUs) last year.
DBP President and CEO Emmanuel G. Herbosa said that to provide the bank with additional resources to help fund these efforts and the country’s economic recovery program starting this year, it plans to issue a $300-million bond by mid-2021, along with the second tranche of its sustainability bonds sometime in November.
“These will not only provide the bank with the necessary liquidity to fuel the country’s economic recovery efforts but will also aid in the development of the Philippine capital markets moving forward,” Herbosa was quoted in a statement as saying.
The DBP chief added that as part of the state-run bank’s “innovative financing solutions,” it is also planning to develop an LGU credit-rating system together with the Bureau of Local Government Finance and the International Finance Corp., in support of the development of a bond market for LGUs.
“Agri-Agra compliant bonds are also in the horizon as this will be timely upon the passage of the amendments to the Agri-Agra Law in support of the development of agriculture and agrarian reform,” Herbosa said.
He added that the DBP is also eyeing the development of an alternative trading system “in the near future” to anticipate the growth of the Philippine finance market.
“Our finance market is maturing and more financial solutions are needed. The bank is in a good position to pioneer a system of exchange for new market securities,” Herbosa said.
He said that last year, the P6.13-billion in loans under the bank’s “Rehabilitation Support Program on Severe Events” program were approved for 25 private and public institutions to help sustain their operations during the pandemic and disbursement is already at P701.4-billion.
Five LGUs with a total loan amount of P450-million were the beneficiaries in 2020 of the bank’s Assistance for Economic and Social Development program and seven LGUs were provided financing assistance in the form of interest subsidies earmarked amounting to P27.13-million, Herbosa said.
He added that the DBP also granted a 60-day moratorium period for 627 of its loan accounts amounting to P130-billion in compliance with the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 11494 or the Bayanihan To Recover As One Act (Bayanihan 2).
On top of assisting cash-strapped local governments during the pandemic, Herbosa said the DBP is also supporting climate-crisis adaptation initiatives at the local level, which include its waste-to-energy projects that it expects to develop with LGU partners starting this year.
He added that this project will be financed by funds raised by the DBP through its highly successful Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Sustainability Bond issuance, which surpassed its P5-billion target and accumulated a total of P21-billion in 2020.
This was preceded in 2019 by a similar issuance of P18-billion in sustainability bonds, which was only the second of its kind in the Philippines at the time, Herbosa said.
This year, DBP will step up implementation of its RESPONSE and ASENSO programs to continue supporting industries and enterprises that have been gravely affected by the pandemic, the DBP official said.
“We have adopted this year a revised theme of ‘strengthen organizational resilience’ to put stress on strengthening our internal capability to continue the development and rehabilitation initiatives for the country, post-pandemic,” he said.
To assist in this effort, the DBP will fully operationalize this year its six new provincial lending centers in support of the targeted 7-percent growth on its loan portfolio to reach P451.06-billion by year-end, Herbosa said.
“This growth duly considers DBP’s commitment under Bayanihan 2 to actively assist borrowers from micro, small and medium enterprises even as we keep our focus on supporting the infrastructure needs of the country,” he said.