Philippines eyes loans after Duterte says P275B not enough vs. COVID-19



The Philippines is looking to borrow money after President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday night that the country needed more funds to financially help those affected by the community quarantines against COVID-19.

According to Finance Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Antonio “Tony” Lambino II, the administration is now in talks with international credit facilities for possible loan agreements.

“Meron naman pong ibang mapagkukuhanan. Tama po ‘yung sinabi ni Pangulo, kung kailangan umutang ay mayroon naman tayong mapaguutangan, dahil maganda ‘yung ating track record ay nagpapautang sila sa atin,” Lambino said on Super Radyo dzBB.

Duterte on Monday instructed Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to find additional funds, as the P275-billion package earlier approved by Congress last month was not enough.

“Mayroon tayong mga credit line. ‘Yung BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) ay binigyan na tayo ng P300-billion credit line. Technically, they will buy government securities,” said Lambino.

The central bank last month said it would purchase P300-billion worth of securities from the Bureau of Treasury (BTr) to support government programs against the spread of COVID-19.

Aside from this, Lambino said the government is also in talks with other agencies overseas to secure the necessary funds.

“‘Yung una, sa local, ‘yung ating BSP na P300 billion. Mayroon din tayong more than P100 billion na nanggagaling sa mga international lenders. Maaaring tumaas pa ito. Nagne-negotiate pa tayo,” he said.

“Meron din tayong mga credit facilities sa mga international lenders na concessional naman ‘yung mga interest rates — ang World Bank, ADB (Asian Development Bank) at iba,” added Lambino.

Washington-based multilateral lender The World Bank has given out a $100-million fast-track loan for the Department of Health (DOH).

Meanwhile, Japan-led ADB has approved a $3-million grant to support government efforts against COVID-19.

Lambino flagged, however, that the government will balance out the loans with other sources of funds moving forward.

“We have to be very careful kasi babayaran pa natin in the future, at babayaran ng future generations, so we have to be responsible sa pag-access ng credit lines,” he explained.

The Philippines has so far recorded a total of 3,660 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of April 06, 2020. The figure includes 73 recoveries, and 163 deaths. -NB, GMA News


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