ADB targets record $3.3 billion lending for Philippines this year

Czeriza Valencia - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Asian Development bank (ADB) is targeting to lend a record $3.3 billion to the Philippines this year, with around half to be provided in support of the government’s infrastructure program.

This lending pipeline will likely include priority infrastructure projects such as the South Commuter Railway, the EDSA Greenways Pedestrian Walkways and the Angat Water Transmission Aqueduct 7.

Also set to receive funding are initiatives to strengthen social protection, promote sustainable tourism, and spur capital market development.

ADB’s sovereign lending to the Philippines last year totalled $2.5 billion, up from $1.4 billion in 2018.

The $2.75-billion Malolos – Clark Railway Project, one of the government’s major infrastructure investments, is the multilateral bank’s largest project financing in Asia Pacific to date. Construction work is expected to begin by the middle of this year.

Newly appointed ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa met with President Duterte yesterday to express the bank’s gratitude to the Philippine government’s first ever contribution to the Asian Development Fund (ADF), a facility that provides grants to ADB’s lower-income developing-member countries.

During his meeting with Duterte, Asakawa lauded the government for its success in bringing down the national poverty rate to 16.6 percent in 2018 from 23.3 percent in 2015 through high economic growth, job creation, and expanded social assistance programs.

The government aims to further reduce the national poverty rate to 14 percent by 2022.

Asakawa said ADB is committed to supporting the country’s “proactive development agenda.”

“ADB’s partnership with our host country, the Philippines, has never been stronger,” he said. “ADB is committed to supporting the government’s effort to reduce poverty and create high quality jobs for Filipinos by building a competitive economy and caring society.”

Asakawa also met with Finance Secretary and ADB governor Carlos Dominguez III to reiterate the bank’s support for the country’s infrastructure goals as well as peace and economic development initiative in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. – With Alexis Romero

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