Three Philippine project loans worth nearly $1 billion are set to be approved by the World Bank in September, forming part of the bank’s support program for the country as it tries to contain the coronavirus and recover from the economic devastation caused by the lockdown.
In a statement Friday, the Department of Finance (DoF) said the World Bank is evaluating for financing nine projects in the Philippines. The DoF was quoting Ndiame Diop, World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia the Philippines and Thailand. Mr. Diop said three loans worth almost $1 billion “are expected to be approved by September.”
“Moving forward, the pipeline is really strong with nine projects, many of which are geared towards supporting the government effort to address the crisis as well as helping the recovery,” he said in a recent remote video meeting with government officials.
The bank has lent the Philippines $1.2 billion since April to help the government respond to the pandemic, adding to the $1.9 billion in loans provided starting June 2019.
The World Bank granted a $500-million policy loan for disaster risk management on April 10, $500 million in emergency loans for coronavirus response on June 3, and $200 million in additional funding for a social protection program.
“It has been very challenging for the Philippines and we are very happy that the World Bank has been very responsive to our needs and has provided us with sound advice during this difficult period,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III was quoted as saying.
Mr. Diop said the bank has also been extending information and policy support to the Philippines aside from financing.
“We are strongly committed to supporting you on the reform agenda, the policy side. You can count on our strong engagement and my commitment to support the government in any way possible to address the pandemic,” he said.
Mr. Dominguez said the government has raised $5.3 billion in concessional loans from development partners as of July 8 to augment government funding, on top of the $126 million it obtained via grants and loans from other partners.
The government has received support from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and Agence Française de Développement (AFD). — Beatrice M. Laforga