PH funds vs COVID-19 hit almost P1.5T in June

The Philippines’ COVID-19 war chest inched up to $30.45 billion, or almost P1.5 trillion, as of last month, thanks to a P505-million vaccine donation from Australia, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Friday.

The updated ADB COVID-19 policy database showed the Philippines’ total fiscal and monetary package as of June 28 further rose from $30.32 billion in May. The June figure is equivalent to 8.62 percent of the 2019 gross domestic product.

Last month, Australia provided 13.7 million Australian dollars worth of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines in coordination with the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

ADB noted Australia has so far helped provide vaccines worth 130 million Australian dollars to poorer countries through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility.

In March, Australia also set aside 35.9 million Australian dollars (P1.3 billion) in technical support assistance to the Philippines’ nationwide mass vaccination program, of which 7.52 million Australian dollars (P277 million) were already injected into Philippine government funds as of mid-June, ADB said.

ADB noted more vaccines were forthcoming after additional deals were sealed with manufacturers last month. These would include 40 million doses from Pfizer-BioNTech, which the Manila-based lender would directly pay under its $400-million second health system enhancement to address and limit the COVID-19 (Heal 2) project loan.

Another 16 million doses from Johnson & Johnson and Novavax were also negotiated in June, it added.

According to ADB, a total of 113 million doses, acquired through contracts, will be delivered to the Philippines this year. INQ

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