The Philippines has been offered a US$750 million loan from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist the nation to kickstart its economy following a slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The loan is intended to help the Philippines increase its testing program and provide support to affected workers. AIIB Vice President DJ Pandian explained that “The focus of our efforts is to help the government tackle the immediate health and economic challenges posed by the pandemic. AIIB’s support will contribute to building economic resilience and ensuring a quick recovery.”

Having implemented one of the strictest lockdowns in the ASEAN region over three months ago, the IMF has estimated that the impact of COVID-19 will reduce economic growth on the island archipelago nation to just one percentage point. Meanwhile, consultant Global Data has also predicted that growth in the construction sector is expected to shrink to 1.2% instead of the pre-COVID-19 forecast of 8%.

While some construction-related projects began returning to work in mid-May, Manila remains the epicentre of transmissions with 66% of infections and 72% of all deaths.