ADB lends PH another $200M for COVID-19 response
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has green-lit another loan worth $200 million for its host-country the Philippines, this time to support the social amelioration program for poor households deemed vulnerable to COVID-19’s socioeconomic fallout.
In a statement Monday night, the Manila-based multilateral lender said that the fresh loan under its Social Protection Support Project-Second Additional Financing would contribute to the $726 million required to provide emergency subsidies to 4Ps households in April and May 2020, referring to the beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, 18 million families, including 4.3 million beneficiary-households of the 4Ps, are qualified to receive dole-outs of P5,000-8,000 a month during a two-month period amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) imposed in Luzon and other parts of the country to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
“This global pandemic, of a kind not seen in the last century, has disrupted the livelihoods of millions of Filipinos and could set back the very substantial gains the country has made in reducing poverty in recent years. The new loan supports the government’s emergency subsidy program, which was designed to help vulnerable households get through this very difficult period and avoid falling into poverty,” ADB vice president Ahmed M. Saeed said.
The ADB is also preparing an Expanded Social Assistance Project to support the government’s medium-term financing of the 4Ps, noting that it had been supporting the conditional cash transfer program since 2010.
Last week, the ADB approved a $1.5-billion quick-disbursing loan for the Philippines as budgetary support in the fight against COVID-19.The ADB also earlier extended a $3-million grant to the Philippines to boost its COVID-19 testing capability, on top of a $5-million grant for the public-private “Bayan Bayanihan” initiative giving away nutritious food baskets to 140,000 poor families in Metro Manila.
Besides these loan and grants it already extended to the Philippines for COVID-19 response, the ADB remains committed to financing other public programs and projects, especially infrastructure, in its $3.5-billion 2020 lending pipeline. INQ
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