THE PHILIPPINES is planning to tap its development partners including the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB), for a combined $3.25-billion worth of loans to fund projects mostly aimed at helping the economy rebound from the pandemic.

Documents for the proposed 2022 national budget showed the government is planning to tap the ADB for additional $2 billion to finance five projects until next year.

The government is seeking a $400-million loan for the second phase of a local governance reform development program by end of the year.

For next year, the government will seek ADB financing worth $400 million each for projects supporting universal healthcare, post-pandemic employment recovery, infrastructure financing, and agriculture development.

The government will ask the World Bank for $433 million in loans to support two projects next year. This includes the $400-million program to promote competitiveness and enhance resilience to natural disasters, and $33 million to support the Education department’s program to improve teachers’ competencies.

The Philippines is also looking to tap Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for a $283.65-million emergency support loan for the government’s pandemic response.

The government is also looking at tapping the Agence Francaise De Developpement (AFD) for a $181.5-million Disaster Risk Management Policy-based loan this year.

For next year, the Philippines will ask AFD for a $181.5-million climate policy-based loan and another $121 million for an infrastructure financing program.

The country is also tapping Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) for a $50-million loan to further support its pandemic response.

“Based on the composition of the loans, all multilateral packages contain support for COVID-19 response, among others. Recovery will be closely associated with the implementation of pandemic-related programs and shall be among the main drivers of the growth outlook for the Philippines,” Robert Dan J. Roces, Security Bank Corp.’s chief economist, said via Viber on Tuesday.

The government borrows from both local and foreign lenders to address the funding gap seen to hit 9.3% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year. As a lower-middle-income economy this year, the country has access to the concessional loans of its development partners. — BML