MANILA - World Bank said Thursday its board approved a $900 million loan facility for the Philippines to support two projects aimed at raising competitiveness and fast-tracking the country's recovery from the pandemic and natural disasters.
The multilateral lender approved $600 million for promoting competitiveness in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and strengthen resilience against natural disasters.
It set aside $300 million to address poverty in poor rural communities through basic social services under the Kalahi-CIDSS poverty alleviation program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Labor and Employment.
Ndiamé Diop, World Bank country director for the Philippines, said the loans were aimed at improving and speeding up digital infrastructure and adoption to boost businesses and create more jobs.
She added that it will provide accessible funds for basic facilities and fast emergency response for the most vulnerable areas in times of disasters.
It can also be tapped as a war chest to fight against COVID-19 by building more isolation facilities and health stations, and improve water and sanitation, the World Bank said.
The World Bank earlier provided $600 million to help the DSWD continue its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to protect the vulnerable families amid the pandemic.
The World Bank Group said it has set aside $160 billion until June 2021 to support the poor and vulnerable, and to boost the recovery of over 100 economies.
This includes the $50 billion fund sources for grants and loans and the $12 billion that developing countries can tap to purchase COVID-19 vaccines.