High unemployment and poverty levels remain the main challenges facing the Aquino administration, whose success in stabilizing macroeconomic conditions has failed to translate to a significant improvement in the lives of millions of Filipinos.
World Bank vice president for East Asia and the Pacific Axel van Trotsenburg this week affirmed the multilateral lender’s long-term commitment to provide financial and advisory support to help the administration achieve the elusive goal of inclusive growth.
Yesterday, the World Bank announced the transfer of $300 million in budget support under its development policy loan to accelerate government reforms that aim to accelerate growth, create jobs and reduce poverty.
“Unfortunately, job (creation) is one of the difficult challenges everywhere in the world. What we are seeing is that this requires the constant attention of every government,” van Trotsenburg told reporters at a press conference. “The challenge everywhere is to provide good-paying jobs. This is an enormously difficult thing.” Van Trotsenburg is in the Philippines for a visit this week.
Latest government data showed the country’s unemployment rate jumped to 7.5 percent last April from 6.9 percent a year ago. This came even after the Philippine economy in the first quarter grew by 7.8 percent—outpacing Asia’s perennial growth driver, China.
Van Trotsenburg said the World Bank would continue to provide financial and advisory support for the Philippines especially in conflict-torn Mindanao, where development aid was most needed.
He added that the bank was crafting a new assistance strategy for the Philippines that would include plans to fund the CCT program. Based on the bank’s experience in Brazil and other Latin American countries, CCT programs, if implemented correctly, played a vital role in reducing poverty.
He said funding would also be made available to strengthen the implementation of the K-12 education and universal healthcare programs, the construction of basic infrastructure such as roads and airports, and for the development of schemes to protect poor families from the impact of climate change.