World Bank approved PH’s $500 million COVID-19 loan

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The World Bank announced Friday it approved a $500 million (P25.2 billion) loan of the  Philippines, which will be used to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The granted loan was part of the international financial institution’s $14-billion fast-track package to aid countries around the world combat the new coronavirus.

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“The World Bank is committed to supporting efforts to strengthen the Philippines’ capacity to prepare for and respond to natural disasters as well as health and economic shocks like COVID-19,” said Achim Fock, World Bank Acting Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand.

“Natural disasters and pandemics disproportionately hurt poor families and communities. Enhancing risk management and the capacity to address these challenges can help ensure that the Philippines can sustain progress in poverty reduction,” he said.

The P22.2 billion loan is part of a broader package that aims to help the Philippines build disaster resilience, the World Bank said.

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As of April 9, 2020, the country has recorded 4,076 COVID-19 cases, including 203 deaths and 124 recoveries.

The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and grants to the governments of poorer countries to pursue capital projects. It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association.

The government’s outstanding debts rose further in November to reach ₱7.71 trillion, the Bureau of the Treasury said January 2020. That means each of the 104 million Filipinos has a debt of P74,134.

Meanwhile, the external debt in the Philippines is expected to reach $73.5 million by the end of 2020, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts’ expectations.

Also read: Chinese envoy denies placing Philippines into ‘debt trap’ with loans

Duterte to sell government assets when money runs out

President Rodrigo Duterte said he would consider selling government assets as a last resort to fund government’s COVID-19 response in case “end game” comes.

Duterte said in a televised address to the public aired early Thursday “end game” is when the government already ran out of money to combat the pandemic coronavirus.

“What is the endgame? Pag maubos talaga ang pera,” Duterte said. “Pag wala na akong makuha, and we’re about to sink and really sink, I will sell all the assets of the government tapos itulong ko sa tao.”

(What is the endgame? If the money runs out. When I can’t get any more, and we’re about to sink, I will sell all the assets of the government and use it to help the people.)

Duterte cited the idea of selling the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) or the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

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