The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today approved a $200 million loan to support the Philippine government’s effort to provide emergency cash subsidies to vulnerable households amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“This global pandemic, of a kind not seen in the last century, has disrupted the livelihoods of millions of Filipinos and could set back the very substantial gains the country has made in reducing poverty in recent years,” said ADB Vice-President Ahmed M. Saeed. “The new loan supports the government’s emergency subsidy program, which was designed to help vulnerable households get through this very difficult period and avoid falling into poverty.”
High, sustained economic growth and job creation in recent years and the government’s social assistance programs have combined to reduce the Philippines’ national poverty rate from 23.3% in 2015 to 16.6% in 2018, translating to 5.9 million Filipinos escaping poverty during this period.
ADB’s $200 million loan, under the Social Protection Support Project–Second Additional Financing, will contribute to the $726 million required to provide emergency subsidies to 4Ps households in April and May 2020.
The loan is part of ADB’s comprehensive support to the Philippines to mitigate the damaging effects of the pandemic on the economy and well-being of Filipinos. It comes after the signing of the $1.5 billion loan for ADB’s COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support program on 23 April.
Two grants approved in March totaling $8 million are supporting the delivery of food baskets to at least 140,000 vulnerable households in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, purchase of emergency medical supplies, and setting up of a new laboratory that will increase the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity by 3,000 tests a day.