World Bank approves $500 million loan for Philippines to fight COVID-19

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 10 2020 12:43 PM

An atrium is seen at the World Bank headquarters building during the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Washington. Yuri Gripas, Reuters/file

MANILA -- The World Bank said Friday it approved a $500 million (P25.2 billion) loan to the Philippines to help the Southeast Asian nation fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The financing is part of the Washington-based lender's $14-billion fast-track package to help nations deal with the disease that has killed tens of thousands around the world.

"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.

"Natural disasters and pandemics disproportionately hurt poor families and communities. Enhancing risk management and the capacity to address these challenges can help ensure that the Philippines can sustain progress in poverty reduction," he said.

The $500 million loan is part of a broader package that aims to help the Philippines build disaster resilience, the World Bank said.

As of Thursday, the Philippines confirmed 4,076 COVID-19 cases including 203 deaths and 124 recoveries. Luzon, home to half of its 100 million population, is on lockdown until April 30 to fight the spread of the disease.