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Thursday, April 18, 2024

PHL to secure additional $425-million ADB loan for Covid vaccines

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The Philippines is still processing an additional $425-million loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to bankroll the country’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout.
At a Department of Health (DOH) media forum, Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Y.C. Joven said that the Philippines is currently in the process of securing the loan from ADB for vaccinations, including logistics and manufacturing.

Joven also clarified that loans should not “always be seen in a bad light” because “borrowing allows us to fund expenditures without having to impose additional taxes in the short run.”

He emphasized that borrowing also enables the government to fund priority initiatives which are in line with the strategies identified under the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, which is geared toward laying a stronger foundation for inclusive economic growth, reduction of poverty, and a globally competitive economy like the Covid-19 response, the “Build, Build, Build” program, and social welfare projects.

Joven further clarified that borrowing will not collateralize government assets, emphasizing that the DOF will not tolerate any violations of our law such as security interests imposed on government-owned assets.

“When we negotiate loans, we always take into consideration debt service payments. We do not borrow money that we do not intend to pay. We want to make it clear that there is no provision in any of the loan agreements signed by the Philippine government under the present administration that includes any form of direct collateral or security interest on any government-owned assets,” he said.

Meanwhile, ADB Principal Health Specialist Dr. Eduardo Banzon reported that ADB was able to mobilize about $20 billion as part of its Covid-19 pandemic response financing efforts to help countries address the health aspect of Covid-19 and manage its adverse economic impact by building the health systems’ capacity to test, isolate, and treat  virus patients.

“What we’re trying to do is work with countries to make sure that these interventions and plans are actually being implemented and to provide any added support like technical advice that they would need,” Banzon said.

For his part, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said that in this time of crisis, every support that they receive from the public and private sectors to help augment the country’s Covid-19 response is “greatly valued and shall be lauded for the Bayanihan spirit they demonstrate.”

“Through our whole-of-government and whole-of-nation initiatives, through our collaborative efforts like this, we will successfully defeat this pandemic,” he said.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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