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Philippines gets P44-million COVID-19 aid from Canada

Canada on Wednesday said it is providing more than CAD$1.1 million or about P44.5 million assistance to the Philippines to support the country's fight against the deadly coronavirus disease.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is a global threat that does not recognize borders and can only be overcome through coordinated action around the world. The Government of Canada is therefore pleased to partner with the Philippines in its efforts to combat the virus," the Canadian embassy said in a statement.

The Philippines has one of the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with nearly 23,000 infections and 1,017 deaths as of latest count.

Part of Canada's assistance is the provision of 120,000 N95 PPE masks valued at CAD$782,000 or about P29.5 million.

The Philippines, the embassy said, was also selected to receive a COVID-19 diagnostic equipment, testing kits, reagents, and laboratory consumables as part of a CAD$5-million global project Canada is funding through the International Atomic Energy Agency.

It is also providing CAD$400,000 or about P15.2 million to the existing CAD$17.8 million Sexual Health and Empowerment Philippines (SHE) project with Oxfam to ensure the unhampered provision of sexual and reproductive health services during COVID-19.

"This investment complements ongoing response activities, including the establishment of an emergency hotline for health services and gender-based violence, procurement of PPEs for barangay health workers, and distribution of family planning information materials," the embassy said.

Additional funding will support core activities of the SHE project which aims to improve the quality, availability, and uptake of health services of over 85,000 women of reproductive ages as well as adolescent girls and boys in conflict-affected and disadvantaged regions in the Philippines.

Canada is also supporting other Association of South East Asian Nations states, including the Philippines, by providing PPEs and capacity-building for the Philippines-led ASEAN BioDiaspora Virtual Centre within the ASEAN Emergency Operations Center Network. --KBK, GMA News