PH eyes loan to stem COVID-19 impact | Inquirer Business
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PH eyes loan to stem COVID-19 impact

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 05:20 AM March 05, 2020

The Philippines plans to tap the financing packages being offered by multilateral lenders such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank to bolster its defenses against the spread of COVID-19.

On March 3, the World Bank announced it was ma­king available up to $12 billion in initial immediate support to economies grappling with the coronavirus outbreak.

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For its part, the ADB last week said it was offering $2 million in funds to all its member-countries to contain the new virus and improve resilience against diseases moving forward.

“We are currently in discussions with the Department of Health on a loan package with multilateral agencies and this announcement of the World Bank is certainly welcomed,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said on Wednesday.

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Specifically, the loan being sought would have “emphasis on quick reactions to COVID-19 and similar events,” Dominguez noted, even as there was no new case recorded here in recent weeks.

On the economic front, Dominguez said the government was closely monitoring the effects of the contagion on tourism and the supply chain of our industries and preparing the appropriate fiscal responses.On Tuesday, Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko said the government was planning to grant temporarily relief to firms and sectors most affected by the coronavirus’ economic impact, including tourism players such as airlines and hotels.

“I am certain that the [Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’] Monetary Board is ready as well with measures to counter the ill effects of COVID-19,” Dominguez added.

Asked about Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia’s proposal to further fast-track government spending by raising the budget-deficit cap to 3.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year from the programmed 3.2 percent of GDP, Dominguez replied: “I am certain that the DBCC is already evaluating various alternatives and will pursue the appropriate measures to protect the economy,” referring to the Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee, which would meet later this month or early April.

Pernia, who heads the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority, on Monday said the coronavirus’ impact on tourism, trade and manufacturing could shed as much as a percentage point from GDP growth this year. The government targets 6.5-7.5 percent GDP expansion in 2020.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: Asian Development Bank (ADB), Coronavirus Outbreak, COVID-19, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, World Bank
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