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Financing for Development Forum Meeting on “Financing a Sustainable Recovery from COVID-19” (“Dialogue with Member States on financing and policy solutions to respond to COVID-19”)

Tuesday, 02 June 2020
H.E. Ms. Kira Christianne D. Azucena, Charge d’ affaires, a.i.
New York, USA


  • Excellencies and colleagues, good morning.  I am pleased to take part in this very important discussion amidst challenging circumstances.


  • I wish to start with the most recent UN DESA Policy Brief[1] released yesterday (01 June 2020), which states that without aggressive policy actions, the COVID-19 pandemic could turn into a protracted debt crisis for many developing countries.


  • The report shows yet again the vulnerabilities of middle-income countries to debt crisis, lost market access and capital flows, further exacerbated by the pandemic. However, due to an anachronistic measuring of economic development based solely on per capita income, many middle-income countries are disadvantaged and excluded from current policy actions and initiatives on debt relief.


  • This needs to be urgently corrected. The call of the Secretary-General on the international financial institutions, the multilateral development banks and the UN for debt relief that is not based on levels of income but on vulnerability, needs to be heeded; as his call for the UN Development System to evolve its support to middle-income countries in all their diversity, including in efforts to advance the multidimensional measurements of sustainable development.


  • Relatedly, we support and intend to actively advance the approach to re-think the traditional indices of economic development with new measures based on vulnerability.  This view was repeatedly mentioned by many leaders at the high-level event on financing for development held last week.


  • At the country level, the Philippines intends to weather the challenges posed by COVID-19 and recover with resilience by utilizing a whole of government and whole of national approach anchored on a prudent fiscal management strategy.  To ensure that we get the country back to its positive trajectory, we are focusing on a smart combination of fundamental and innovative recovery measures hinged on past achievements and reforms that were in place pre-COVID-19 and that build on the country’s solid macroeconomic and fiscal management.


  • The Philippine Government has a four-pillar strategy to address and recover from the pandemic, with an allocated combined value of approximately 30 billion US dollars representing 9.1 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). The strategy
  • One, covers support for poor and low-income households, small-business employees and other vulnerable groups, emergency and wage subsidies;
  • Two, marshals the country’s medical resources and ensures the safety of healthcare frontliners;
  • Three, provides for fiscal and monetary actions to finance emergency initiatives and keep the economy afloat; and
  • Fourth, finances an economic recovery plan to create jobs and sustain growth under a post-quarantine scenario.


  • Recently, the Philippine Department of Finance (DOF)[2] secured a total of US$4.55 billion in newly contracted foreign loans from multilateral lenders and the commercial markets to boost the government’s ongoing efforts to suppress the pandemic and provide relief to the most affected sectors. We intend to continue to honor our obligations to bilateral and multilateral creditors amid the crisis as a way to ensure that the country maintains the credibility, confidence, and cooperation of its creditors and partnersAn example of this credibility is the country’s continued access to “low-interest, concessional financing for recovery and stimulus programs.”


  • We remain aggressive in our “build, build, build” nationwide infrastructure program, a priority critical investment for our country – pre, during and post-pandemic. We are convinced that this will break the vicious cycle of shrinking demand and supply in the domestic economy because it creates jobs, thus stimulating growth and boosting domestic consumption.


  • This week, we hope to pass into law a bill titled Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE).  It contains corporate tax reform measures that will usher in the biggest stimulus program for enterprises, and aims to reenergize the business community and the private sector, and attract investments in the country even during the pandemic.


  • We are also investing in ICT infrastructure for reliable digital connectivity and to ensure efficient and affordable e-commerce. Businesses need to innovate and make full use of technology to resume operations and cater to consumer needs and preferences while still managing risks of COVID-19 infection.


  • And finally, as part of collective action, we have joined other ASEAN countries to strengthen regional efforts to address the pandemic.


In reaffirming our commitment to multilateralism and global solidarity in addressing and recovering from the pandemic, thank you again for this opportunity.