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Japan releases second tranche of standby loan to Philippines

THE Japanese government, through its overseas development arm the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has released 10 billion yen (P4.7 billion) to the Philippines from its standby loan facility, with the proceeds intended to support recovery efforts for communities hit by recent typhoons.

In a statement Tuesday, JICA said the disbursement was the second tranche of the post-disaster standby loan 2 agreement with the Philippines. The previous tranche was also worth 10 billion yen, in support of the government’s pandemic response.

The 50-billion-yen standby loan agreement was signed in September.

JICA said the funds can be used on rehabilitation efforts for communities struck by the series of typhoons late last year.

“Through the JICA post-disaster assistance, we hope that vulnerable sectors affected will find relief and support to recover their livelihood and income through the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ in these difficult times,” JICA Philippines Chief Representative Eigo Azukizawa was quoted as saying.

The standby loan is designed as a rapidly-disbursing fund to accelerate the government response to calamities.

The loan can be tapped in tranches within three years, with the loan agreement extendable for another three years.

It charges an interest rate of 0.01%, maturing over 40 years, inclusive of a 10-year grace period.

“As partners for inclusive development, JICA is supporting the Philippines with available financial resources to mitigate the impact of natural disasters and health crises. We’re making it clear that we’re in this together and that JICA will support development partners who need our assistance,” Mr. Azukizawa said.

Aside from the standby loan, Manila in July 2020 obtained a 50-billion-yen loan from Tokyo for its pandemic response.

Japan remains the country’s top source of foreign aid with current grants and loans worth $10.082 billion as of June 2020.

JICA is the biggest bilateral aid agency in the world with total foreign aid of $14.08 billion in 2018. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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