DOF chief cites rapid multilateral funding for PH vax program
MANILA – Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said on Monday that the “rapid and substantial” funding provided by the Philippines’ multilateral partners for its 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccination program will help achieve the goal government to inoculate 70 million Filipinos or 100 percent of the adult population.
Dominguez said the government is fully committed to accelerating the rollout of its national immunization program in order to safely reopen the economy and restore jobs lost since Covid-19 triggered a pandemic last year.
“On behalf of the Philippine government, I express my deepest gratitude to the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for providing funding total of $ 1.2 billion for the purchase of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines for the Filipino people, ”Dominguez said during the virtual launch of these loans via Zoom.
Under the terms of the loans, Dominguez said multilateral institutions would help the Philippine government buy the vaccines through their strict purchasing rules and guidelines, and then pay the vaccine suppliers directly.
The financial packages will also follow global best practices in safeguard measures, he added.
Dominguez said the rapid response of the WB, ADB and AIIB to the Philippines’ call for support reflects their confidence in the government’s ability to effectively implement its Covid-19 response measures, including including the national immunization program.
The government, through the Ministry of Finance (DOF), has secured the following loans totaling $ 1.2 billion (approximately PHP 58.4 billion) for the purchase of Covid vaccines -19: $ 500 million for the Philippines Covid-19 emergency response project – Funding Supplement (PCERP-AF) from the WB; US $ 400 million Second Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit Covid-19 (HEAL 2) as part of AfDB’s Asia Pacific Vaccine Facility; and a $ 300 million HEAL 2 loan from AIIB.
“We appreciate the responsiveness and flexibility of our multilateral partners to provide appropriate and timely financial support to meet our specific needs during this pandemic. They have been by our side throughout this battle giving us the sufficient ammunition we need to recover quickly from this health crisis, ”said Dominguez.
AfDB Vice President Ahmed Saeed said AfDB, along with WB and AIIB, “will need to work with our developing member countries and vaccine suppliers to ensure equitable and timely access to vaccine supplies. vaccines “.
He said the government rollout of the vaccine “has gone well in recent weeks” but that Covid-19 remains a “powerful and formidable enemy”.
“The world just doesn’t have enough vaccines, and on top of that, rich countries are building up stocks by committing in advance most of the production that will become available over the next six months. This made it difficult for developing countries to procure vaccines and led to a slowdown in vaccine deployment, ”Saeed said.
WB Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific, Victoria Kwakwa, said the goal of the additional PCERP funding “is to provide the country with additional resources to deploy vaccines on a large scale by as an important new layer of protection to save lives, maintain livelihoods, and enable Filipinos to gradually return to their jobs, schools, and be surrounded by friends and family. “
“At the Bank, we are honored to be a part of this effort, honored to be alongside the Philippines and its partners in moving this effort forward,” she added.
AIIB Vice President for Investment Operations DJ Pandian said his co-financing with AfDB for HEAL 2 “aligns with AIIB’s commitment to support its members in responding to the Covid-19 crisis “.
“It is an essential part of the Philippines’ public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic by providing rapid access to eligible vaccines that would help accelerate the country’s economic and social recovery,” Pandian said. (RP)