MANILA, PHILIPPINES (1 April 2020) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a $5 million project to help the Philippine government deliver critical food supplies to up to 55,000 vulnerable households in Metro Manila and neighboring areas, which are under enhanced community quarantine to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Rapid Emergency Supplies Provision Project will be implemented under the Tagalog name "Bayan Bayanihan” (the Filipino principle of sharing what one has with one’s community). It will leverage ADB and private sector resources to provide essential food supplies to vulnerable households on Luzon island, including Metro Manila, to bridge the gap until other support mechanisms are activated. Beneficiaries will include the poorest families, as well as informal sector workers who have lost their livelihoods because of an extended period of self-isolation and business closures—measures needed to keep the spread of COVID-19 under control.

“This project will ensure that tens of thousands of the poorest and most vulnerable households in the Philippines, our host country, will continue to be able to put food on the table as they cope with the impacts of COVID-19,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “This unique program will combine the core strengths of the government, ADB, and domestic and global philanthropic, private entities to improve the health, living conditions, and resilience of households most affected by the pandemic.”

The first deliveries of the project—2,000 50-kilogram sacks of rice—were successfully made on 31 March in the cities of Caloocan, Manila, Pasay, and Quezon, with food varieties and households chosen based on government guidelines. More food—including rice, drinks, and canned sardines, tuna, and corned beef—will be delivered to households in Malabon on Friday.

More than 75% of the Philippines’ confirmed COVID-19 cases are in Manila and nearby provinces, a dense urban area that is also the largest contributor to the country’s economy. On 24 March, Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act to provide emergency cash assistance of 5,000 to 8,000 pesos ($98 to $156) a month to about 18 million low-income households.

ADB’s $5 million grant will complement initiatives of the government and the private sector. Through collaboration with philanthropic, private entities, ADB aims to attract more contributions to support the expansion of the program, so more vulnerable households can be supported and for longer periods of time.

The new program builds on ADB’s support to the Philippine government in its fight against COVID-19. On 14 March, ADB approved a $3 million grant to help the government purchase emergency medical supplies and deliver immediate and effective health care services.

On 18 March 2020, ADB announced an initial package of approximately $6.5 billion to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries, including the Philippines, as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. ADB stands ready to provide further financial assistance and policy advice down the road whenever the situation warrants. Visit  ADB’s website to learn more about our ongoing response.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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