Philippines to contribute to ADB grant fund

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines is expanding its role as a net lender to the world as it is making its first-ever contribution to the grant fund intended for the most vulnerable and least developed member-countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the country’s contribution to the Asian Development Fund (ADF) would be announced during a pledging session on the sidelines of the ADB’s 53rd annual meeting in Incheon, South Korea this May.

Dominguez said contributing to the fund is beneficial to the Philippines and the rest of the Asia-Pacific, given that the growth of least developed countries (LDCs) would provide new potential markets to further bolster domestic economic expansion as well as regional growth.

He said Manila’s contribution to the ADF conveys goodwill to the region’s LDCs, whose economic and social development would also have an external benefit  to  the Philippines in terms of strengthening regional health security by preventing the transmission or outbreaks of such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other major illnesses.

He  said the country’s contribution  to  the ADF comes at a crucial time when assistance from ADB’s European partners may be possibly reduced.

“Since the Philippines’ graduation from ADF assistance in 1999, we have yet to contribute to the replenishment of the fund. Now, as we move to the upper middle-income status, the country is poised to extend help to the LDCs, including some of our neighbors in ASEAN and the Pacific,” he said.

The pledging session for ADF 13 scheduled on May 2 will be the 12th time that the ADF will be replenished since it was established in 1974.

The ADF’s total replenishments have reached $4.01 billion, inclusive of $2.59 billion in donors’ contributions.

It is specifically dedicated to support ADB’s poorest and most vulnerable developing member-countries such as Afghanistan, Cambodia, Kiriba, Kyrghyz Republic, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Nepal, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

“With the proposed Philippine contribution to ADF 13, the country is expected to benefit in terms of further driving its  growth from the possible development of new markets within the region,” Dominguez said.

Non-regional donors such as selected European countries, the US, Canada and Turkey as well as regional donors including Australia, China, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, New Zealand, Taipei and selected ASEAN members continue to support the ADF.

Some ASEAN countries that had graduated from ADF assistance like Thailand and Indonesia are now donors to the ADF.

The Philippines has been supportive of various initiatives of other institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the United Nations to assist less developed countries.         

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