The World Bank has approved US$500 million in funding to support the Philippine government’s program to purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, strengthen the country’s health systems, and overcome the impact of the pandemic especially on the poor and the most vulnerable.
In a press statement, the multilateral lender said the newly approved financing will support the Philippines to vaccinate the population based on vulnerability and risk.
Ndiamé Diop, World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, said procuring and administering vaccines provides the country "an added layer of defense against COVID-19 on top of public health measures or interventions like social distancing, wearing of masks, and washing hands."
“Inclusive deployment of vaccines in line with the World Health Organization Fair Allocation Framework is critical for preventing grave illness and deaths from COVID-19, opening the economy in earnest, ensuring a resilient recovery, and restoring jobs and incomes.”
Besides the purchase of vaccines, the additional financing will also support the Philippines to continue to implement public health measures until a majority of the population has been vaccinated or is deemed safe based on global evidence.
World Bank earlier approved a $900 million loan facility for the Philippines to support two projects aimed at raising competitiveness and fast-tracking the country's recovery from the pandemic and natural disasters.
The multilateral lender approved $600 million for promoting competitiveness in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and strengthen resilience against natural disasters.
It set aside $300 million to address poverty in poor rural communities through basic social services under the Kalahi-CIDSS poverty alleviation program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Labor and Employment.