Dominguez: $3M ADB grant, ample gov’t funds to boost PH fight vs COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — A grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and ample government funds will boost the Philippines’ fight against the spread of COVID-19 in the country, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Friday.
“The Department of Finance (DOF) successfully negotiated for the ADB to give a $3-million grant to the Department of Health (DOH) for COVID-19 control,” Dominguez disclosed.
As of press time, there were no additional details yet regarding the upcoming grant from the Manila-based multilateral lender.
Dominguez said DOF also sourced P2.5 billion from the state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) on top of P450 million from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) so DOH could buy more test kits, among other response to contain COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 which outbreak originated in China’s Wuhan City, Hubei province, in late 2019.
The World Health Organization has already declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Also, Dominguez said Budget Secretary Wendel E. Avisado had assured him that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was ready to fast-track fund releases despite the “community quarantine” of Metro Manila and other areas affected by the outbreak.
“As ordered by President Duterte, you have the assurance from the DBM that funds for ‘Build, Build Build’ projects and all other government projects currently implemented as well as those to be implemented are available, and government purchases for equipment and supplies needed by the DOH and other vital goods and services, including those of the military and the police, shall go on unhampered by the current situation,” Avisado told Dominguez.
On March 10, the Cabinet-level, interagency Economic Development Cluster (EDC) green-lit P2.92 billion in additional funding for DOH’s COVID-19 responses such as additional testing, augmentation of contact tracing and surveillance, as well as additional personnel protective equipment for health workers at the national and local levels.
It will also fund isolation packages for patients who will be admitted due to COVID-19, which will be covered by the state-run Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), Dominguez said.
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