Philippines' total loans to address pandemic balloon to P754 billion

ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group

Posted at Apr 23 2021 04:55 PM

Government loans for COVID-19 vaccines reach P58.5 billion

Members of the Sangguniang Kabataan distribute goods from their "Zero Waste Community Pantry" to residents in Purok 6, Barangay Cupang in Antipolo City on April 22, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Total government loans for COVID-19 response grew by USD2.1 billion (approximately P102.38 billion) in less than four months since December 15, Department of Finance data as of April 8, 2021 showed. 

More than half of this amount—or a total of USD1.2 billion (P58.5 billion)—is for COVID-19 vaccine procurement and deployment. 

Since last year, the government has amassed a total of USD15.49 billion or approximately P755.32 billion for its COVID-19 response (using an exchange rate of USD1 = P48.75 per DBM). Almost that entire amount—P754 billion or 99.83%—will come from loans from multilateral financing institutions and through the issuance of USD-denominated global bonds. A very small portion will come from grants. 

The P58.5 billion in loans for COVID-19 vaccines comprise three new loans—all signed last month—from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). They account for only eight percent of total government loans for COVID-19 response to date. 

Loans for vaccines: P58.5 billion

Of the total USD1.2 billion (P58.5 billion) in loans for COVID-19 vaccines: 

  • USD500 million (approximately P24.38 billion) from the World Bank for the “Additional Financing for the Philippines COVID-19 Emergency Response Project,” which will support the procurement and deployment of vaccines, on top of strengthening health systems and overcoming “the impact of the pandemic especially on the poor and the most vulnerable.” The agreement was signed on March 19, 2021.
  • USD400 million (approximately P19.50 billion) from the ADB for the “Second Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 under the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility.” This will support “the procurement and deployment of up to 110 million doses of the Eligible Vaccines through either the COVAX facility or bilateral arrangements with manufacturers and distributors.” The agreement was signed last March 19, the same day as the World Bank loan. 
  • USD300 million (approximately P14.63 billion) from the AIIB as ADB’s co-financier of the “Second Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 under the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility.” The agreement was signed a week later, on March 26. 

These loans will form part of the P70 billion “Unprogrammed Funds” appropriated in the 2021 National Budget for COVID-19 vaccines. 


The DOF earlier reallocated up to an aggregate of USD55 million from the World Bank and ADB loans signed last year in order to “allow an earlier disbursement” for the government’s vaccine procurement program, Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven said in a letter response to ABS-CBN’s query on the matter. 

These two loans are the USD100 million Philippines COVID-19 Emergency Response Project (PCERP) loan with World Bank and USD125 million Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 (HEAL) loan with ADB, which, although “earmarked for COVID-19-related activities,” did not cover vaccine procurement, Joven said. 

“In order to complete the original project,” Joven said that the realigned funds will be sourced from the USD500 million additional funding for PCERP signed with the World Bank recently. 

‘Would never pass through government’

The funds from the loans are administered by the multilateral financing institutions, which “will directly pay the vaccine suppliers such that the money would never pass through the Philippine government,” the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said in response to ABS-CBN’s query. 

“The money would be made available as long as there are vaccine supply agreements that needed to be paid,” the DBM added.

The three new loans for vaccines will be paid from 2024–2039, with an average repayment period of 10 years for each loan, based on the amortization schedules indicated in the loan agreement documents available on the DOF website as of April 8, 2021.


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Balance: More than P11 billion

The P58.5 billion (USD1.2 billion) in loans for COVID-19 vaccines as of April 8 make up only 71% of the P82.5 billion funding required to inoculate some 50-70 million Filipinos, per government estimates.

The rest of the amount, or P12.5 billion, will come from the national budget, P10 billion of which will come from Bayanihan 2 standby funds unutilized from the 2020 National Budget, and P2.5 billion will come from the DOH regular budget in the 2021 General Appropriations Act. 

According to DBM, said P12.5 billion was already released to the Department of Health (DOH) “to fund logistical requirements such as cold-storage facilities, PPEs, injection devices and support services such as disposal of waste, health promotion and communication and surveillance, among others.”


This still leaves a balance of more than P11 billion that the government needs to secure in order to purchase the vaccines required for herd immunity. That’s approximately 148 million doses of vaccines that the government is targeting to secure by the end of the year, according to DOF. 
The remaining balance of more than P11 billion, the DBM said, will be “financed by savings and other arrangements with the Philippines’ bilateral or multilateral partners through Official Development Assistance financing.” 

As of April 19 however, the DOF said that “there are no other loans being processed for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines” this year. 

Aside from the USD1.2 billion (approximately P58.5 billion) in loans for COVID-19 vaccines from the World Bank, ADB, and AIIB, the government also secured a total of USD900 million (approximately P43.88 billion) in loans for the government’s pandemic response from the World Bank: USD600 million (approximately P29.25 billion) in budgetary support financing for the “Promoting Competitiveness and Enhancing Resilience to Natural Disasters Subprogram 2 Development Policy Loan” and USD300 million (approximately P14.63 billion) in project loan financing for the “Additional Financing for KALAHI CIDSS National Community Driven Development Project.”

There is also a difference of USD28.4 million from the total loan amount in the DOF website last December. This, according to DOF, was due to a rebasing of figures “to reflect 2020 average exchange rates.”

Total COVID-19 loans: USD15.47 billion; to be paid until 2049

Of the total USD15.47 billion in loans:

USD13.35 billion (86%) is for budgetary support financing, of which:

  • USD5.1 billion (38%) from the issuance of bonds
  • USD3.8 billion (28%) from ADB
  • USD2.4 billion (18%) from World Bank
  • USD936.8 million (7%) from JICA
  • USD750 million (6%) from AIIB
  • USD285.2 million (2%) from AFD
  • USD100 million (1%) from KEXIM-EDCF

USD2.115 billion (14%) is for project loan financing, of which:

  • USD1.29 billion (61%) from World Bank
  • USD525 million (25%) from ADB
  • USD300 million (14%) from AIIB

Nearly all of the USD13.35 billion for budgetary support financing (92% or USD12.31 billion) has already been disbursed to the government, according to DOF.

These loans will be paid from 2023–2049, with an average repayment period of 14 years for each loan, based on the amortization schedules indicated in the loan agreement documents available on the DOF website as of April 8. 

The shortest repayment period is five years (2026-2031) for World Bank’s “Promoting Competitiveness and Enhancing Resilience to Natural Disasters Subprogram 2 Development Policy Loan.”

The longest repayment period is 21 years (2028-2049) for the “Social Protection Support Project– Second Additional Financing and the Expanded Social Assistance Project.” Both loans are from ADB.

Meanwhile, the maturity dates of the issued USD-denominated global bonds are on 2030, 2031, and 2045.

Aside from these loans, the government has also secured a total of USD26.74 million in grants from the following: USD18.74 million from the Government of Japan for the provision of medical equipment to DOH, and a total of USD8 million from ADB for the “COVID-19 Emergency Response Project” and for “food baskets for up to 55,000 vulnerable families in Metro Manila for at least two weeks.” 

See details of all loans secured by the government for COVID-19 response here:


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