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COVID-19 Response: PH Gets P23.5B Japan Loan

Philippines and Japan signed on Wednesday, July 1, a “highly concessional” P23.54B (¥50-billion) loan that aims to help the government in its war against COVID-19.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) Philippines Chief Representative Eigo Azukizawa signed the agreement for the loan, which can be disbursed faster than other loans as it did not require prior policy conditions. The inked agreement is for the COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan (CRESL).

The Department of Finance (DOF) said in the statement, “The loan proceeds will automatically be available for withdrawal once the loan is declared effective, which is expected in the last week of July.”

The Philippines is also the first recipient country of the new facility designed by the Japanese government to help developing countries globally in augmenting their COVID-19 response program and stimulating economic activity.

Dominguez told reporters that the loan will essentially cover part of the drop in state revenues at a time that the government is ramping up it’s spending for its response against the pandemic.

“There’s no specific item here, but again it will support government operations, such as the hiring of the contact tracers,  increasing the number of testing centers we have. You know, we went from one testing center in March, I think we now have 72 testing centers. So, and you know these things are not cheap. And it will continue to support our anti-COVID operations, as well as cover also normal government operations, and the projects that we are planning to fund as soon as the Bayanihan 2 or Stimulus 1 law is passed,” Dominguez said.

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