Philippines gets foreign aid to ramp up fight against COVID-19


The Philippine government, through the Department of Finance (DOF), is stepping up efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic through active collaboration and partnerships with international organizations.

The country has secured a US$3 million grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s Asia-Pacific Disaster Response Fund (APDRF) to purchase emergency medical supplies including personal protective equipment (PPE), Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III announced.

Additionally, the World Bank is also fast-tracking a US$100 million loan to enable the DOH to procure PPEs for healthcare front liners, laboratory and testing materials and equipment, put up quarantine areas, isolation rooms and other essential facilities, said the secretary.

The Philippines has currently more than 2,000 cases of COVID-19 infections with 88 deaths.

Secretary Dominguez, earlier unveiled a package of priority actions amounting to US$531.9 million (Php 27.1 billion) to help front liners in fighting the pandemic, and provide economic and social relief to the people who will be most affected by the virus-induced slowdown in economic activity.

Secretary Dominguez said: “We have enough, but limited resources, so our job is to make sure that we have sufficient funds for programs mitigating the adverse effects of COVID-19 on our economy.”

A slew of financial assistance was also announced, including the mobilization of additional funds for the acquisition of COVID-19 test kits, financial support to establishments and workers, unemployment benefits for dislocated workers, free courses, loans at zero interest for smallholder farmers and fisherfolk and special loan package for affected micro entrepreneurs/micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Elsewhere, the US government through USAID, has also committed US$2.7 million to support the Philippines in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by strengthening specimen transport systems and enhancing laboratory capacity for the rapid and accurate detection of cases.

Hygiene products, masks, waste management supplies and other needed items will be made available for the protection of health workers and patients.

US government-supported programs will also expand the disease preparedness of communities including access to water, sanitation, hygiene services and commodities. (Source: DOF)