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ADB chief backs Duterte’s 10-point economic agenda

Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - July 11, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Asian Development Bank expressed support for the 10-point economic agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration.

"The recent strong growth of the Philippines provides a foundation for further sustainable growth to fully realize this country's enormous potential," ADB President Takehiko Nakao said in a statement.

"Our support will be tailored to the government's socio-economic and poverty reduction priorities, and to the country's middle-class status. We are looking forward to further discussions on how we can best support the country."

Nakao recently met with new Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Economic Planning Chief Ernesto Pernia. 

ADB projects the Philippine economy to grow more than 6 percent in 2017.

The Philippines has seen strong economic growth in recent years. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5.9 percent in 2015, and is projected to rise 6 percent this year and 6.1 percent in 2017 due primarily to higher private consumption and investment.

"Unemployment is hovering at historical lows of 6.1 percent as of April 2016. But challenges remain to create better jobs and reduce underemployment especially in rural areas," ADB said.

The Duterte administration aims to spread the benefits of strong growth.

"The Philippines can harness its vast potential by tapping its young and educated population in pursuit of higher productivity and job creation, especially in such areas as small- and medium-enterprises, tourism and agri-business," ADB said.

The multi-lateral lender wants to support areas such as accelerating infrastructure development with special attention to the role of public-private partnerships; rural and value chain development in agriculture; improving human capital investment through health and education; and social protection through conditional cash transfers.

Nakao said ADB can help the country to bring in innovations in infrastructure development as it has extensive experience in countries and access to global knowledge and advanced technologies.

Since it provided its first loan to the Philippines in 1969,  ADB has provided $15.9 billion in sovereign loans, $1 billion in non-sovereign operations (loans, equity investment, and guarantees to the private sector), and $93 million in technical assistance. (FREEMAN)

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