South Korea's pandemic aid to PH reaches P10.6 B over the past 2 years

November 24 ------ South Korea has donated over P10.6 billion to the Philippines for its coronavirus pandemic response over the past two years. The Korean Embassy in the Philippines disclosed that since the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country, the Republic of Korea has contributed P10.6 billion, including COVID-19 vaccines, additional funds, test kits, and other medical equipment. Among the recent initiatives of Korea to the country is the delivery of 539,430 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines, which are expected to arrive on Nov. 30.

The foreign country has also provided US$100 million of budget support to assist the Philippine government in establishing policies and institutional arrangements in response to COVID-19 which includes enhancing testing capacities, shouldering medical expenses of private and public health workers, and procuring medical supplies and equipment. It has also pledged to donate US$100 million for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines within this year. Korea also vowed to provide refrigerated trucks for transporting COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine-related goods to help distribute and deploy vaccines throughout the country. These trucks will be delivered in January 2022.

Other contributions handed over by Korea to the Philippines include 530,000 swab test kits, seven walk-through booths, two extraction equipment, six isolation beds, 970,000 masks, 167,000 hygiene kits, 1,200 personal protective gears, and distribution of rice pouches to 365,000 Filipinos. Among the significant contributions of Korea to the Philippines within their three-decade cooperation include the US$65-million for the country’s improvement of access to basic health services, which benefited 1.5 million patients since 2015; US$ 358-million aid for rural community development and agricultural productivity improvement, which has helped 200,000 Filipino farmers; US$982 million for construction and upgrading of transportation infrastructure; US$218.6-million donation for humanitarian emergency assistance; and US$81.24 million for the improvement of quality of education and skill training.

As both countries mark their 30th year of development partnership, Korea vowed to continue supporting the Philippines’ efforts to vaccinate its people, control COVID-19 pandemic, and achieve economic recovery. “As part of Korea’s continued support to the Philippine response to the pandemic, next year the Korean Government will discuss with the Philippine Government its additional pledge to provide 100 million USD of budget support for the Philippine Emergency Response to Disasters including the COVID-19 pandemic via K-EXIM Bank and launch a grant project of 6.5 million USD for the Philippines’ post-pandemic recovery in a health sector via KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency),” the Korean Embassy said.

Korea expressed that “the bilateral development cooperation between Korea and the Philippines over the last three decades has continued to evolve both in quantitative and qualitative terms.” Data from the Korean Government showed that the volume of financial resources contributed to the partnership amounts to US$2.1 billion, with the annual contribution increasing from US$7.24 million in 1991 to around US$127.75 million in 2020.