Philippines can secure more loans for pandemic fight if needed: NEDA chief

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 30 2020 04:01 PM

Quezon City businesses remain closed during the enhanced community quarantine on April 29,2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippines has a "good chance" of securing more financing for its coronavirus response if the pandemic drags, acting socioeconomic planning secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said Thursday. 

The country's current debt to GDP (gross domestic product) ratio, at 41.5 percent in 2019, could rise to 46 to 47 percent which is still "very low and manageable," Chua told reporters.

"Our solid fiscal position, very good credit ratings and reputation, I think, will give us a very good chance of securing that financing if we needed, from the market and development partners," Chua said.

"We are in a very good position to borrow because our economy is in a very good position and we have track record to pay that," he added.

The government has disbursed over P200 billion for cash aid for the poorest 18 million families and a P51 billion wage subsidy for workers of small businesses, among others, Chua said.

The Philippines has enough funds for pandemic response until May, and will reevaluate funding options should the lockdown extend to June, Chua earlier said.

The lockdown or enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and other high-risk areas, scheduled to last until May 15, will give health authorities more time to handle infections, he said.

"We have actually lowered the risk of infection and I hope we wont be in dire need of more money to support the people," he said.

The country's coronavirus task force and the National Economic Development Authority will craft a recovery program," Chua said.