August 24, 2021
The Philippines receives a 10 billion yen from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Post Disaster Stand-by Loan (PDSL 2) to boost COVID-19 response strategies as virus cases surge.
The amount is the last tranche of the financing assistance under JICA PDSL 2 that serves as contingency funds for the Philippines' response to the financial demand of post-disaster recovery in case of public health emergencies and natural disasters. Prior to this, the Philippines has received 20 billion yen from PDSL 2 in June this year, on top of the 10 billion yen disbursed last year, to support the Philippines' economic recovery measures from COVID-19. Another 10 billion yen of the PDSL 2 was disbursed in January 2021 to support the rescue, relief, and rehabilitation of areas devastated by Typhoons Quinta, Rolly, and Ulysses in 2020.
The Philippines, through the Department of Finance (DOF), has sought JICA's assistance as quarantine restrictions in the country tightened this month at the onset of COVID-19 Delta variant.
"JICA continues to support partner countries like the Philippines in curbing potential breakouts from COVID-19 variants and help Filipinos build back better from this public health crisis," said JICA Philippines Chief Representative AZUKIZAWA Eigo. "As development partners, we need to work together to manage the crisis, strengthen health systems, and save lives. JICA's PDSL 2 assistance will hopefully support effective and sustainable measures against COVID-19 in the Philippines."
The World Health Organization (WHO) has earlier raised concerns on the Delta variant due to its high transmissibility. In the past weeks, the Philippines tried to address the peak of cases by increasing its vaccination rates.
As part of its assistance, the Japanese government likewise donated one million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines as part of its efforts to curb the virus spread in the Philippines.
Aside from the PDSL 2 disbursements, JICA has also supported the Philippines' management of COVID-19 through a 50 billion yen Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan for medical response, social assistance, and support to small businesses, agriculture, and other vulnerable sectors, as well as equipment for testing and treatment of COVID-19 for the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) and San Lazaro Hospital. A JICA-Philippines technical cooperation is also underway to help build an integrated public health laboratory network in the country for future disease outbreaks.