According to the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP), the government has allocated around PHP700 million pesos (USD14.5 million) in loans to the country’s beleaguered airlines as part of its second coronavirus pandemic relief measure, which President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law on September 11.

The new measure, called Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), referencing a Filipino word derived from bayan (community), replaced Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1).

In total, Bayanihan 2 has earmarked PHP9.5 billion (USD196 million) for transportation recovery programmes, of which PHP2.6 billion (USD54 million) will assist critically affected businesses.

The air, land, and sea sectors are each expected to receive around PHP700 million, ACAP’s executive director Roberto Lim, who is also country manager for the International Air Transport Association (IATA), told BusinessWorld magazine.

ACAP consists of five carriers, Philippine Airlines and its subsidiary Air Philippines, Cebu Pacific Air and its subsidiary Cebgo, and Philippines AirAsia. Lim estimated that each airline would get about PHP140 million (USD2.9 million) in loan assistance under the package.

The allocation comes on top of PHP10 billion (USD207 million) that government financial institutions, known locally as GFIs, are expected to lend to or invest in the aviation sector. However, because a GFI loan evaluation process can take at least two months, Lim explained, airlines may not see this money until December or even 2021.