Duterte borrows another $500 million from World Bank for coronavirus

Ralf Rivas
So far, the Duterte administration has borrowed $1.1 billion or around P55 billion from the World Bank for the Philippines' coronavirus response

PANDEMIC. A health worker waits for patients to be tested for COVID-19 at a swabbing center in Manila. Photo by Inoue Jaena/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines signed another $500-million (P25-billion) loan deal with the World Bank to support poor households and small businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said on Thursday, June 4, that disbursement of the Emergency COVID-19 Response Development Policy Loan was accelerated and is expected to be received by the 3rd week of June.

The loan is payable in 29 years with a grace period of 10.5 years. (READ: What we know so far: Funding the fight vs coronavirus)

Dominguez said the swift approval “underlines the strong confidence of the international community in the government’s capability to meet the massive funding needed to save lives and provide immediate relief to Filipinos most affected by the coronavirus-induced global health crisis.”

Last April 28, the Philippines and the World Bank signed a separate $100-million (P5-billion) loan agreement for the COVID-19 Emergency Response Project, which aims to strengthen the country’s capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to the pandemic.

On April 10, the World Bank also approved the $500-million Third Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan that aims to augment the Philippine government’s urgent financing requirements in dealing with the crisis. 

The Duterte administration is borrowing billions to fund the coronavirus fight and is prepared to widen the budget deficit, as revenues fall due to business closures and lockdowns.

In April, the national debt ballooned to P8.6 trillion, with both domestic and external debt rising. – Rappler.com 

P50.01 = $1

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.