April 27, 2022
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines have signed the loan agreement for COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan (CCRESL Phase 2) on April 25, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan. Under CCRESL Phase 2, JPY30 billion (equivalent to PHP 13 billion) will be disbursed as further support to the COVID-19 emergency response of the Philippine Government, in addition to the JPY50 billion (equivalent to over PHP 20 billion) disbursed under CCRESL Phase 1 wherein the loan agreement was signed in July 2020.
Aside from Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans mentioned above, JICA has also provided various cooperation to promote infection prevention control measures in the Philippines through grant aid and technical cooperation. In order to contain COVID-19 pandemic on a global scale and restore safety and security to the lives of people, JICA has launched its "Last One Mile Support" program wherein the goal is to accelerate vaccination roll-out in developing countries through provision of cold chain equipment and logistics. Under this program, JICA and the Department of Health have agreed on the implementation of two projects; The Programme for COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support and The Project for Supporting to the Philippines COVID-19 Vaccination Cold Chain and Logistics on January 28, 2022, wherein a total of JPY 878 million (equivalent to PHP 360 million) grant is provided to procure cold chain equipment such as refrigerated vans, ice-lined refrigerators and freezers, thermal packing system and delivery trucks. These equipment will be distributed to various regions to support the on-going inoculation program of the government and will ensure that vaccines are stored properly and will be able to reach far flung areas nationwide
JICA's approach is to further strengthen the capacity of its partner institutions for early detection of the disease and provision of proper diagnosis and treatment. Thus, JICA also provided various laboratory and IT-related equipment amounting to PHP61 million to the Research Institute and Tropical Medicine and San Lazaro Hospital, two of the biggest referral hospitals for COVID-19 pandemic.
JICA has also provided current project partners such as the Philippine General Hospital, the Eastern Visayas Medical Center and different Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers, through provision of Personal Protective Equipment such as masks and gloves, sanitary disinfection equipment such as air purifiers and UV light and other supplies that will assist them in the mitigation of the virus and enable them to continue providing medical services to their clients under the new normal. 8,000 rapid antigen test kits were also provided to DOH in March 2022 which will serve as complementary testing procedure to areas wherein RT-PCR tests are not readily accessible.
JICA is taking a holistic approach in dealing with COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to strengthen the capacities of not only the National Reference Laboratories but also the Regional Laboratories in responding to emerging infectious diseases through a technical cooperation project that will be implemented with the Department of Health and RITM this year. Under this project, target laboratories will be trained on quality assurance, biosafety and biosecurity, as well as, laboratory data analytics in order to further enhance the national laboratory health network for infectious diseases.
Department of Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez (left) and JICA President Akihiko Tanaka during the signing ceremony of CCRESL Phase 2 in Tokyo, Japan.