Japan, US donations boost PH war chest vs. COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines—Thanks to foreign donors like Japan and the United States, the Philippines’ war chest to fight the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic inched up to $30.46 billion (about P1.53 trillion) or 8.63 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.
The latest update to the ADB COVID-19 Policy Database on Friday (July 30) showed a slight increase in the Philippines’ policy measures as of July 26, from $30.45 billion or 8.62 percent of 2019 GDP in June.
The newest addition to health support measures included grants and donations from the Japanese and US governments, such as medical equipment and COVID vaccines.
For instance, the ADB noted that Japan extended a 687-million yen (about P308-million) grant for cold-chain transport and ancillaries to be used in the Philippines’ mass vaccination program.
Japan also donated to the Philippines 1.12 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, which arrived last July 9.
The US donated 420 intensive care unit (ICU) beds worth P23.9 million, which arrived in the Philippines on July 15, the ADB noted.
Also, 1.6 million doses or half of the 3.2 million single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines committed by the US through the COVID-19 vaccines global access facility (Covax) arrived in the Philippines on July 17.
The Janssen vaccines increased to a total of 164 million the doses which the Philippines acquired as of July 22, which also included 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, 26 million of Sinovac, 13 million Moderna doses, as well as 10 million doses of Sputnik V, the ADB said.
In Asean, the Philippines’ war chest against COVID-19 was eclipsed by those rolled out by Malaysia ($143.3 billion or 43.5 percent of GDP); Indonesia ($115.33 billion or 11.35 percent of GDP); Singapore ($101.07 billion or 30.52 percent of GDP); and Thailand ($100.66 billion or 20.58 percent of GDP).
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