Three lenders fork out $1.2 billion in loans to PH

The Philippines has secured $1.2 billion worth of loans from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to support the procurement of vaccines against COVID-19.

The loans include $500 million from the World Bank, $400 million from the ADB and $300 million from the AIIB.

The World Bank said Friday its board of executive directors approved $500 million in funding to support the Philippine government’s program to buy and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, strengthen the country’s health systems and overcome the impact of the pandemic, especially on the poor and the most vulnerable.

It said the newly-approved financing would support the Philippines to vaccinate the population based on vulnerability and risk. Priority groups include frontline health workers, senior citizens, indigent communities, followed by priority groups of teachers, government workers, indigenous peoples, and then the remaining population.

Prioritization of vulnerable groups reduces the health and economic consequences of the pandemic, protecting those that are at a high risk of infection and of developing severe COVID and adverse outcomes.

“Procuring and administering vaccines provides the country an added layer of defense against COVID-19 on top of public health measures or interventions like social distancing, wearing of masks, and washing hands,” said Ndiamé Diop, World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

“Inclusive deployment of vaccines in line with the World Health Organization Fair Allocation Framework is critical for preventing grave illness and deaths from COVID-19, opening the economy in earnest, ensuring a resilient recovery, and restoring jobs and incomes,” Diop said.

The additional World Bank financing will also support the Philippines to continue to implement public health measures until a majority of the population has been vaccinated or is deemed safe based on global evidence. The use of web platforms to gather citizen feedback on the vaccination program as well as beneficiary feedback surveys to boost engagement with citizens will help ensure effective implementation.

Meanwhile, the Philippines became the first recipient of financing support under the Asian Development Bank’s Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility with the approval of a $400-million loan that will help the country buy safe and effective vaccines against the coronavirus disease.

“ADB’s support will boost the Philippine government’s urgent efforts to secure and deploy COVID-19 vaccines for all Filipinos, especially those who are vulnerable, such as frontline workers, the elderly, and poor and marginalized populations, as well as those at increased risk of severe illness,” said ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa.

“COVID-19 vaccines are critical to accelerating the recovery of the Philippine economy, rebuilding livelihoods, and restoring quality jobs. With this financing, ADB seeks to help the country save lives and allow Filipinos to return to normal life as soon as possible,” the ADB executive said.

“COVID-19 vaccines are critical to accelerating the recovery of the Philippine economy, rebuilding livelihoods, and restoring quality jobs. With this financing, ADB seeks to help the country save lives and allow Filipinos to return to normal life as soon as possible,” Asakawa said.

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