Banks’ trilateral cooperation gives PH ‘seal of good housekeeping’ on Covid-19 vax procurement

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THE Department of Finance has said the trilateral cooperation among the world’s major multilateral development banks (MDBs) in jointly providing funding support for the Philippine government’s Covid-19 national inoculation program gave this effort the “seal of good housekeeping,” which assured Filipinos the procurement of the vaccine doses were legal and aboveboard.

In a statement on Monday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III was quoted as recognizing the World Bank Group (WBG), the Asian Development Bank, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank for entering into a co-financing arrangement for the Philippines’ Covid-19 vaccination program, which also provided the government the budgetary support it needed at a time when revenue collections were down as a result of the pandemic-induced lockdowns or community quarantines.

On behalf of the Philippine Government, Secretary Dominguez personally thanked WBG regional vice president for East Asia and the Pacific Manuela Ferro and other key officials of the institution for the WBG’s support of the Duterte administration’s reform agenda and pandemic response efforts, during a recent meeting at the 2022 International Monetary Fund-WBG Spring Meetings.

Dominguez again expressed the Philippines’ deep appreciation for the assistance extended by the WBG in a separate meeting with the Bank’s vice president and managing director for operations Axel Van Trotsenburg.

Trotsenburg, in turn, thanked Dominguez for his “great leadership and cooperation,” which ensured that the WBG was able to play a useful and effective role in extending its support to the Philippines.

The WBG, in particular, has signed 22 loan agreements with the Philippines with the Duterte administration, amounting to US$7.53 billion.

Fifteen of these 22 agreements were for an aggregate amount of US$6.15 billion and that were utilized for the government’s Covid-19 response program.

The trilateral collaboration among the three MDBs in supporting the Philippines’ Covid-19 response was an offshoot of a proposal broached by Dominguez in 2017 for multilateral institutions to coordinate with each other in eliminating overlapping functions, reducing costs, and being more effective and responsive in providing official development assistance to member-countries.

The finance chief said this trilateral cooperation could be replicated to mobilize financing for other development projects, particularly the climate adaptation and mitigation initiatives by emerging economies like the Philippines. (PR)

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