MANILA, May 3 — The Monetary Board (MB) approved a total of US$2.84 billion of public sector foreign borrowings in Q1 2021, 19.36 percent higher than in the same period in 2020 of US$2.38 billion. These consist of: (a) six  project loans amounting to US$1.44 billion; (b) one  program loan amounting to US$600 million; and (c) two  bond issuances amounting to US$798 million.
These foreign borrowings will fund: (a) the National Government’s COVID-19 pandemic response programs, mainly for vaccine procurement and distribution (US$900 million); (b) refinancing of existing obligations and general financing requirements (US$798 million); (c) disaster resilience (US$600 million); (d) social protection (US$300 million); (e) public transport improvement (US$138 million); and (f) maritime safety (US$ 105 million).
Under Section 20, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, prior approval of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), through its MB, is required for all foreign loans to be contracted or guaranteed by the Republic of the Philippines. Similarly, Letter of Instructions No. 158 dated 21 January 1974 also requires all foreign borrowing proposals by the NG, government agencies and government financial institutions to be submitted for approval-in-principle by the MB before commencement of actual negotiations. The BSP promotes the judicious use of the resources and ensures that external debt requirements are at manageable levels, to support external debt sustainability. (BSP)