THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) rolled out its $5-million project to provide food to up to 55,000 poor households in Luzon affected by the month-long enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

In a statement, the bank said the $5-million Rapid Emergency Supplies Provision Projected will benefit poor families and workers in the informal sector who lost their livelihoods due to quarantine protocols and business closures.

The first batch was delivered Tuesday, including 2,000 50-kilogram sacks of rice and various food items to the cities of Caloocan, Manila, Pasay, and Quezon.

It said the second batch containing rice, drinks and canned goods will be delivered to families in Malabon Friday.

“This project will ensure that tens of thousands of the poorest and most vulnerable households in the Philippines, our host country, will continue to be able to put food on the table as they cope with the impacts of COVID-19,” ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa was quoted as saying.

He said the program is a joint effort of the ADB, the Philippine government and private institutions here and overseas.

“Through collaboration with philanthropic, private entities, ADB aims to attract more contributions to support the expansion of the program, so more vulnerable households can be supported and for longer periods of time,” according to the statement.

The ADB earlier approved a $3 million grant to the government for medical supplies, testing kits and other equipment.

The bank said it will launch a funding package worth at least $1.6 billion for the Philippines in the coming weeks, consisting of three “quick-disbursing, policy-based loans” worth $1.1 billion and another $500 million in disaster resilience financing. — Beatrice M. Laforga