MANILA, Philippines – The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte will be borrowing some $1 billion or around P51 billion to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In a text message to reporters, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said they are negotiating the terms, but declined to say whether the loan would come from a multilateral lender or another country.
The amount is on top of the P27.1-billion package previously announced by the economic team.
The borrowing comes at a time when government revenues are projected to drop by over P91 billion due to weaker economic activity.
The Philippines already secured a $3-million grant (P153 million) from the Asian Development Bank, mainly for emergency medical supplies and delivery of health care services.
The World Bank has also earmarked a $100-million (P51 billion) fast-track loan to the Philippines to enable the Department of Health to procure personal protective equipment for health care workers, along with testing and laboratory materials, quarantine areas, isolation rooms, and other essential equipment.
As of last week, the government projected that the pandemic would shave a full percentage point off the Philippines’ economic growth in 2020. The tourism sector is the hardest hit among all sectors.
Assuming that the economic impact of the virus would last until June, economic managers foresee the country’s budget deficit hitting as high as 3.6% of gross domestic product. – Rappler.com