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AIIB approves $300-million loan for Philippines' COVID-19 vaccines

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) approved on Thursday, March 25, a $300-million (P14.57-billion) loan for the Philippines' COVID-19 vaccine procurement.

AIIB's COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility (CRF) is its first vaccine financing facility, which aims to provide vaccines for around 50 million Filipinos or 43.8% of the population.

The AIIB loan to the Philippines, co-financed with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), supports the country's Second Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 under the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility.

This is the second loan extended to the Philippines under the CRF, along with the first one approved for the country's COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Program, bringing the Beijing-based bank's support to $1.05 billion.

"AIIB's vaccine financing will adhere to international standards for safety, equity, and quality in support of our members in their vaccine rollout," said Joachim von Amsberg, AIIB vice president for policy and strategy.

The Philippines is poised to receive up to $1.2 billion (P58.2 billion) in total from multilateral lenders.

The ADB earlier approved a loan amounting to $400 million (P19.4 billion), while the World Bank will be lending the Philippines $500 million (P24.2 billion) for COVID-19 vaccines.

The Philippine government budgeted some P82.5 billion for vaccines, of which P70 billion will come from unprogrammed funds or loans.

Under the 2021 national budget, the Department of Health has an allocation of P2.5 billion for vaccine procurement, on top of the P10 billion allocated for COVID-19 vaccine financing under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.

The government, however, has drawn criticism over the pace of the vaccination rollout. The 1.5 million doses that have arrived in the Philippines so far are all donations, with 1 million from China and 525,600 from the COVAX Facility led by the World Health Organization. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

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

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