PHL secures P14-B loan from France

 PHL secures P14-B loan from France
Many houses were destroyed in Surigao del Norte during the onslaught of typhoon Odette. Photo taken by the Philippine Coast Guard, Dec. 17. Courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard

THE Philippine government signed a €250-million (about P14-billion) loan agreement with France’s development agency to support local governments’ disaster response, the Department of Finance (DoF) said.

The DoF in a statement said the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is providing the policy-based loan to support the decentralization of disaster risk reduction and climate change management to the local government units.

The fund will be used to build local government capacity and to support ongoing reform programs that take into account public health emergency concerns.

The project aims to boost local community resilience to disasters, as well as cut emergency response times to improve recovery efficiency.

“This will complement our move to shift our focus from theorizing about global warming to executing practical climate adaptation and mitigation projects on the ground,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said.

Laurent Klein, AFD country director, said the loan is a result of a partnership with the Department of Interior and Local Government and a disaster management program financed by the European Union through the French development assistance institution.

“It aims to further develop our cooperation on disaster risk management and climate change adaptation capacity for a period of three years,” he said.

“It is also in line with France’s commitment to support climate action under the Paris Agreement in order to help the Philippine Government meet the ambitious targets it set for itself when it submitted its Nationally Determined Contribution.”

The Philippines, under its first Nationally Determined Contribution for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030.

Of the 75% target, just 2.71% can be achieved with internal resources, while the remaining 72.29% would rely on international assistance.

The Finance department has been pushing for climate financing from wealthier economies that have not offered enough to help developing nations reduce their carbon footprints. Such countries bear the most responsibility for their historic emissions, Mr. Dominguez has said.

Just last week, Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai) brought heavy rains and destructive winds over central and southern Philippines.

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

Extreme weather events have caused P506.1 billion in losses and damage to the Philippines over the past decade, emphasizing the country’s vulnerability to the climate crisis, DoF said previously.

The government’s outstanding debt has swelled to P11.97 trillion as of end October, up by 19.38% year on year, data from the Treasury showed.

Accounting for about 30% of the total, external debt as of end-October reached P3.5 trillion, up by 18.74% from a year earlier. Foreign debt consisted of P1.53 trillion in loans, while the rest are sourced from government securities. — Jenina P. Ibañez