The program aims to strengthen the government’s ability to carry out policy reforms and initiatives designed to improve the employability of the Philippines’ workforce, according to the DOF.
AFP/File
Philippine secures $623 million ADB loan
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - December 15, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has secured $623 million in additional loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to support the implementation of three projects, which will help the government increase employment, expedite infrastructure projects, and promote fair competition in the country.

During a ceremony held at the Department of Finance (DOF) Friday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and ADB vice president Ahmed Saeed signed a $400 million loan agreement for the Facilitating Youth School to Work Transition Program.

The program aims to strengthen the government’s ability to carry out policy reforms and initiatives designed to improve the employability of the Philippines’ workforce, according to the DOF.

Saeed said the initial implementation of this program has translated employment growth, with a net of 1.3 million new wage jobs created in the 12 months to October. He said this was reflected in the government’s most recent unemployment rate of 4.5 percent in October 2019.

The Philippines and ADB also finalized a $23.3 million funding program for the Capacity Building to Foster Competition Project, which seeks to improve the capacity of staff and employees from the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC).

PCC chairman Arsenio Balisacan welcomed the signing of the loan agreement, saying this would allow the agency to handle more cases and improve its enforcement of competition laws.

Lastly, ADB also infused $200 million in additional financing for the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility (IPIF).

Saeed said the facility would support the preparation of several infrastructure projects in the next three years, including the detailed engineering design of the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge Project and the Metro Rail Transit Line 4 connecting Ortigas in Metro Manila to Taytay in eastern Rizal province.

The ADB, in a separate statement, said it would also provide project implementation and preparation support for the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Works and Highways, so they can effectively and efficiently manage complex infrastructure projects.

According to the DOF, the three loan agreements are part of the $10.3 billion financing program of the ADB for the Philippines over the medium term.

Of this amount, the DOF said $2.5 billion was allocated for this year, while the remaining $7.8 billion would be released over the 2020 to 2021 period. From 2009 to 2019, the ADB’s loan financing to the Philippines amounted to $7.2 billion.

Saeed said this reflects ADB’s “continued commitment to support the Philippines in delivering its development agenda.”

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