PH borrowing another $400M from World Bank for COVID-19 recovery
The World Bank will lend the Philippines $400 million to pursue “policy reforms” for sustainable recovery from the health and socioeconomic ills inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Documents on Friday showed the forthcoming development policy loan (DPL), a form of budgetary support financed by the World Bank for borrowers’ reform agenda, would be approved by the Washington-based lender during its fiscal year 2023, which technically starts in the middle of this year.
This DPL is the latest addition to a near-term lending pipeline for the Philippines, which is already composed of 11 upcoming loans worth $1.93 billion.
The other loans included the $250-million Mindanao transport connectivity improvement project; $200-million second financial sector reform development policy financing; $200-million fisheries and coastal resiliency project; $178.1-million multisectoral nutrition project; and $150-million sustainable, inclusive and resilient tourism project.
Also among the upcoming World Bank loans are the $140-million Agus-Pulangi hydropower complex rehabilitation project 1; $110-million teacher competitiveness and competencies enhancement project; $100-million alternative learning system project; $100-million digital transformation project; and $100-million Mindanao inclusive agriculture development project.
Meanwhile, a World Bank report last week showed that the implementation of a $600-million loan for the Philippines’ 4Ps or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program was progressing, with inroads made in digital payments to beneficiary-families.
The World Bank rated the beneficiary FIRST (which stands for fast, innovative and responsive service transformation) social protection project being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development as “moderately satisfactory.” The project covers 4.4 million poor families that will receive conditional cash transfers under 4Ps by end-2024.
As of end-October 2021, 4Ps had 4.08 million beneficiary-households.
Since the loan took effect in 2020 to sustain 4Ps financing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine government already disbursed $301.5 million or more than half of the credit.
As of end-October last year, 96.7 percent of 4Ps beneficiaries reported their cash aid was a significant source of household income amid the pandemic, according to the World Bank. The figure is already above the 2024 target of 80 percent.
It also helped that more beneficiaries had been receiving the cash grants through digital channels.