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Japan provides P10-billion loan package for Covid-19 war chest

A man rides his pedicab with a slogan to remind people to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Manila, Philippines on Monday, April 26, 2021. COVID-19 infections in the Philippines surged past 1 million Monday in the latest grim milestone as officials assessed whether to extend a monthlong lockdown in Manila and outlying provinces amid a deadly spike or relax it to fight recession, joblessness and hunger. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

THE Japanese government has made available P10 billion worth of quick-disbursing budgetary support to beef up the national government’s “Covid-19 war chest.”

The budgetary support is part of the Post-Disaster Standby Loan Phase 2 (PDSL 2). The amount was approved as another tranche of the PDSL 2 by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in a teleconference with President Duterte last month.

The PDSL 2, signed in September 2020, is a contingency fund that entitles the Philippine government to withdraw up to P25 billion worth of loans to help finance its response measures in the aftermath of natural and health-related disasters.

“This third and latest disbursement under the PDSL 2 is intended to further augment the GOP’s Covid-19 war chest, especially now that the Philippines continues to show signs of recovery following the lifting of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in the NCR Plus reimposed on March 29,” Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) said in a statement.

To date, the Japanese government has infused a total of P20 billion into the national government’s coffers, with the first tranche amounting to P5 billion disbursed in October 2020 to boost the GOP’s pandemic response.

The second tranche, which was also worth P5 billion, was released in January 2021 to facilitate a faster recovery from Typhoons Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses.

The PDSL 2 forms part of the GOJ’s comprehensive assistance to the GOP in this time of the pandemic. Aside from the PDSL 2, Japan provided the Philippines a P25-billion financing under the Covid-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan (CRESL) in July last year.

Along with these two loan accords, Japan further expressed its solidarity with the Philippines through a P1-billion grant aid for the procurement of medical equipment and establishment of laboratory surveillance sites.

The Japanese government also recently announced P500 million worth of grant assistance for cold chain development in the Philippines.

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