World Bank approves $500-million loan to boost PH's pandemic response

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 29 2020 06:28 PM

Residents line up outside a covered court in Barangay Payatas, Quezon City hoping to receive the cash assistance under the DSWD’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) on May 12, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA--The World Bank said Friday it approved a $500 million (P22 billion) loan to help the Philippines mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund will help the vulnerable households and will provide financial assistance to small and medium enterprises, the World Bank said in a statement.

“This new financing can help with the delivery of financial support for struggling families and communities while the country is ramping up efforts to contain the pandemic and reduce its economic impact," said Achim Fock, World Bank acting country director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.

The Philippines Emergency COVID-19 Response Development Policy Loan supports the governments cash aid for the poorest 18 million families, the 4.3 million beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), expatriated overseas workers, and other programs, the bank said.

It will also help small and medium enterprises currently assisted by the government's P51 billion wage subsidy program, it said.

"This swift loan approval underlines the strong international confidence in the government's capability to meet the massive financial requirements of containing this global health emergency," Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.

The World Bank previously approved several financial packages to help the country in its coronavirus response. The group will deploy more than $160 billion in financial support over the next few months to help countries protect the poor, support businesses and boost economic recovery, it said.

Metro Manila will be under general community quarantine starting June 1 to gradually restart the economy. Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno earlier said the country needs fresh funds for the "new economy" which is focused on job creation.