Philippines' spending for COVID-19 response reaches P355 billion

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 24 2020 01:34 PM

Drivers wait by their jeeps after receiving food packs from the Valenzuela City government on June 10, 2020 amid the general community quarantine. Jeepney driver and operators continue to call on the government to allow them to operate amid the quarantine, citing mounting and looming expenses such as the incoming school year for students and the pending jeepney modernization program, yet receiving little to no income or financial aid amid the quarantine. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA-- The Philippines has spent P355 billion for its response to the coronavirus pandemic, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said Wednesday, adding more funds were needed to address the crisis.

Of the said amount, Avisado said P247.52 billion came from pooled savings while P96.7 billion came from unprogrammed appropriations.

"Patuloy pa po ang nakikita natin na gastusin ang ating kakaharapin dahil patuloy pa rin po ang epekto sa atin ng COVID-19," Avisado said in a virtual press briefing.

(We see more expenses coming because the effect of COVID-19 is persistent)

The Department of Finance last week said the government planned to raise up to P400 billion from borrowings to help fund the country's recovery from the pandemic.

Financing will be sourced from lenders such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Lambino said.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno earlier said the Philippines needed fresh funds to spur job creation.