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PHL eyes $500-M disaster response loan from World Bank

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By Jenina P.Ibañez, Senior Reporter

The Philippines plans to tap a $500 million World Bank disaster response loan to help fund rehabilitation efforts from Typhoon Odette.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III in a Viber message to reporters on Monday said that World Bank funding for typhoon recovery efforts can be drawn as soon as the country announces a state of national calamity.

Quoting Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, he said the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) recommended to President Rodrigo R. Duterte the declaration of state of calamity in response to the typhoon, which brought heavy rains and destructive winds over central and southern Philippines.

“World Bank has been put on notice,” Mr. Dominguez said.

“(The) amount to be drawn will be determined as soon as the respective agencies provide the figures to the Department of Budget and Management/Department of Finance and approved by the Office of the President.”

The World Bank in November approved the new $500 million fund for a contingent line of credit the Philippines can use to manage the financial impacts of disasters and disease.

The multilateral lender’s board of executive directors greenlit the disaster risk policy loan, which would give the government access to liquidity made available for three years once the project comes into effect.

The Philippines can access the funds if it declares either a state of public health emergency or a state of calamity due to either an imminent or ongoing natural catastrophe. The fund is renewable for up to 15 years.

Mr. Dominguez added that the state of calamity allows the Bureau of Internal Revenue to extend tax deadlines.

The Agriculture department on Monday said farming and fishing losses due to the typhoon have reached about P362.3 million so far.

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