Philippines eyes fresh borrowings to augment COVID-19 war chest: finance dept

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 14 2020 12:12 PM | Updated as of Apr 14 2020 12:19 PM

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MANILA – The Philippines is considering additional borrowings of up to $5.7 billion (P288 billion) to augment its "sizeable but not inexhaustible" resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, a finance official said Tuesday.

The Department of Finance is working on the loan program, tapping various sources including the Asian Development, Bank, World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Finance Asec. Antonio Lambino told ANC.

The Philippines can borrow at "high levels" due to its investment grade rating and strong fiscal management, Lambino said.

"There are sources of funds identified to fund the emergency subsidy program but yes additional borrowing is certainly on the table," Lambino said.

"We have to be very prudent and careful and in any borrowing, we have to realize that we need to pay back later or the future generations will have to pay back," he said.

Fiscal stimulus and cash aid are being prepared to cushion the economic impact of the COVID-19 lockdown, he said.

An economic recovery plan is being prepared to help small businesses cope with the impact of COVID-19.