July 6, 2020
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Philippine government signed a JPY 50 billion Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines and support government efforts in addressing the health crisis.
The COVID-19 Crisis Emergency Response Support Loan, as a general budgetary support co-financed with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is designed to strengthen the country's capacity to respond to COVID-19 and revitalize economic activities largely hit by the pandemic. It is the first budgetary support extended by the bilateral donor to address the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines.
As of April 2020, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the unemployment rate in the country climbed to a record-high of 17.7 percent or 7.3 million people as an effect of COVID-19 to the economy.
"We believe that this emergency support loan would complement our other projects in the Philippines to help boost the economy by providing jobs to many Filipinos, including the recent agreements for the Cebu Mactan 4th Bridge and Davao City Bypass Road infrastructure projects in support of the Build Build Build program and which we signed just about two weeks ago," said JICA Philippines Chief Representative Eigo Azukizawa.
The Philippines is the first recipient country of the new facility designed by the Government of Japan to help developing countries globally in augmenting COVID-19 response program and stimulating economic activity.
JICA added that it is committed to explore new and innovative ways to deliver its development cooperation programs in response to Philippines' immediate needs and consistent with its mandate to promote inclusive and sustainable growth and a better quality of life for all.
As the Philippines' largest ODA partner with the total value of JICA programs in the Philippines amounting to 60.135 billion yen in fiscal year 2018, JICA is supporting efforts to achieve sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation, overcoming vulnerability, and promoting peace and development in Mindanao. JICA has also been supporting various sectors in the Philippines, including railways, roads and bridges, maritime safety and security, investment promotion, energy, environment, disaster risk reduction and management, agriculture, social development, among others.