Debt Again: Philippines Wants to Borrow P15.6 Billion for Vaccines
The Philippines wants to borrow $325 million (P15.6 billion) from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to finance its Covid-19 vaccine procurement. In a press conference, ADB country director Kelly Bird confirmed the amount proposed by the Philippine government for vaccine procurement. The ADB has set aside $9 billion for financing vaccine procurement programs in Asia Pacific.
The new loan, if approved, will sit on top of the P510 billion facility the country already secured in loans and grants meant to finance the government’s pandemic response.
As far as the ADB is concerned, the Philippines looks healthy in terms of its ability to pay its debts. "The Philippines has a very strong fiscal situation coming into the crisis. They have significant fiscal space and a fiscal program that was announced a few months back for 2021 and 2022," said Bird.
Philippines Must Choose High-Quality Vaccine
According to the ADB, the Philippines must meet several conditions to be eligible for the vaccine loan. One of the most important conditions for approval is the type of vaccine the Philippines will procure.
“It’s important that the Covid-19 vaccines to be financed and procured, would be those that meet ADB’s eligibility criteria. The procurement would follow ADB’s procurement processes. And under this new facility, these are also made more flexible and fast-tracked,” said Bird.
According to the ADB, the Philippines’ loan proposal will be approved if it chooses to procure a vaccine that passed either the standards of the World Health Organization, the COVAX (the global standard for ensuring the quality of vaccines), or approved by a stringent regulatory authority for vaccines.