Beijing-based multilateral development bank Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is exploring $300 million (about P14.4 billion) worth of loans for the Philippines, AIIB President Jin Liqun said Wednesday.
At the virtual Manila Forum of the Association of Philippines-China Understanding (APCU), Jin said the new loan will fund the Philippine government’s immunization program for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
He added that aside from financing the acquisition of the Covid-19 vaccines, the loan will be used for programs to mitigate the adverse impact of the global health and economic crisis.
AIIB approved last year a loan of $750 million to the Philippines, which is co-financed by the Asian Development Bank, Jin said.
He added that this budgetary support funded the increasing Covid-19 testing capacity in the Philippines, supporting vulnerable sectors including agriculture and poor households through conditional cash transfers and emergency assistance, and wage subsidies.
“In general, AIIB’s Covid-19 assistance was meant for vulnerable countries, vulnerable businesses, and vulnerable people. That is why we are also mindful of our borrowers’ financial health and vulnerability to debt. We protect the welfare and financial sustainability of our members,” the AIIB executive said.
Commenting on the debt trap issue, Jin said borrowing money from external sources is not necessarily the source of debt problems of a country.
“It’s not the borrowing that created the debt problems. It’s the use of the proceeds of the debt, it’s the use of the borrowed money that matters, that makes or breaks,” he said.