The United States will provide an additional P298 million financial aid to help the Philippines manage the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

With this assistance the total amount the country has received from the US government now totals over P768 million or equivalent to $15.2 million according to a statement released by the US Embassy in the Philippines.

“This latest assistance builds on our long-standing relationships with local government units across the Philippines, and represents our continued commitment to our Filipino friends, partners, and allies in this time of crisis,” said Sung Kim, U.S. Ambassador to the country.

The statement further delineates how the financial assistance is intended to be utilized — (1) improve the capability of local response centers to deliver timely crisis response information, (2) help local governments to speed up the release of critical funding and required supplies, (3) manage quarantine protocols, (4) establish public handwashing facilities, (5) ensure food supply, and (6) even support local business recovery.

On top of this financial support, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will coordinate with 18 local governments of the hardest-hit areas towards effectively managing the crisis and implement response programs, such as increasing stocks of essential medical supplies, expansion of hospital capacity, prevention of the spread of disease in prison facilities, and improving the resilience of the vulnerable sectors and communities.

The embassy also cited that assistance in the supply chain analytics will also be extended and a regulatory environment will be enhanced to speed up the movement of food, medical products, and other essential goods.

Even small and micro-enterprises will be assisted to achieve recovery via access to credit facilities, grants and skills training notably those areas and communities that are heavily affected. 

The financial assistance came a month after President Rodrigo Duterte had an 18-minute telephone conversation with US President Donald Trump tackling bilateral efforts to manage the pandemic. (Jojo Mangahis)