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World Bank OKs $600 million loan for Philippines
The Washington-based multilateral has committed $300 million out of the $309.5-million Philippines Seismic Risk Reduction and Resilience Project that will improve the strength of government structures in Metro Manila to withstand earthquakes.
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World Bank OKs $600 million loan for Philippines

Elijah Felice Rosales (The Philippine Star) - May 5, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The World Bank has approved close to $600 million worth of new projects in the Philippines to renovate state buildings in Metro Manila and scale up fish production in coastal towns.

The Washington-based multilateral has committed $300 million out of the $309.5-million Philippines Seismic Risk Reduction and Resilience Project that will improve the strength of government structures in Metro Manila to withstand earthquakes.

The project also intends to capacitate the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to better prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Based on the concept paper filed before the World Bank, the DPWH will renovate a total of 500 buildings, including hospitals and schools, under the project. Further, the agency plans to do the civil works in phases to minimize disruptions, such that structures situated in the same area will be reconstructed at different periods.

The project was granted to prepare the Philippines for the potential damage of a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in the West Valley Fault that runs through multiple cities in Metro Manila. An earthquake of that severity is estimated to result in up to 48,000 deaths and $48 billion worth of economic losses.

Likewise, the World Bank has committed $200 million for the $220-million Fisheries and Coastal Resiliency Project that will develop the management of fisheries resources and raise the value of marine production in coastal communities.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), under the Department of Agriculture, is tasked to roll out the project that will run for seven years and cover at least three fishing towns.

The project is expected to increase the income of fishermen derived from aquaculture, captured fisheries and related livelihoods, and this will be estimated in customized surveys to be gathered throughout implementation in the selected areas.

As the lead implementer, the BFAR is instructed to extend infrastructure and equipment that will scale up the catch of fishermen in the project locations. It is also mandated to introduce ways on how to reduce post-harvest losses to maximize yield.

The World Bank is likewise funding the $65-million Civil Service Modernization and Human Resource Management in the Philippines. The project will enhance the human resource management and payroll systems in selected government bodies in the country.

The Civil Service Commission, as the implementing agency, is tasked to develop mechanisms that will identify challenges, streamline the processes and improve service delivery of the public sector’s human resource offices.

The CSC must also cut red tape within the agency, innovate the civil service system, as well as improve organization performance, by the end of the project.

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