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ADB lending $3.68B to PH in next 3 years

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The Asian Development Bank will lend the Philippines $3.68 billion in the next three years to support the Duterte administration’s plan to build more infrastructure as well as reduce poverty incidence.

Under its 2018-2020 Country Operations Business Plan for the Philippines, the Manila-based multilateral lender will also provide $25.1-million technical assistance during the three-year period.

Next year, ADB loans are projected to amount to $920 million, before increasing to a record of $1.4 billion in both 2019 and 2020, the lender said in a statement late Wednesday.

“Nearly half, or $1.7 billion, of the ADB’s lending pipeline in the next three years will finance projects in the transport, water and urban infrastructure sectors such as the Malolos-Clark Railway Project and the Metro Manila Water Supply Project in 2019. Part of the amount will also fund capacity building of government agencies and local government units to deliver large and sophisticated roads and railway projects, and local services,” it said.

The rest of the lending pipeline includes programs and projects in the social sectors, finance sector including inclusive finance, disaster risk management and public sector management, it added.

“We are committed to supporting the government’s effort to realize its goals of sustainable and inclusive growth, delivering much-needed infrastructure, strengthening education, helping youth to access good jobs and boosting regional development,” ADB country director for the Philippines Richard Bolt said.

The Duterte administration early this year unveiled the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program aimed at ushering in “the golden age of infrastructure” after years of neglect.

Under “Build, Build, Build,” the government would roll out 75 flagship, “game-changing” infrastructure projects, with about half targeted to be finished within President Duterte’s term, alongside plans to spend a total of up to P9 trillion on hard and modern infrastructure until 2022.

The socioeconomic blueprint Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2017-2022, meanwhile, targets 7-8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the medium term by pursuing the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda ultimately aimed at reducing the poverty incidence to 14 percent in 2022.

As for job creation, the PDP 2017-2022 wanted to reduce unemployment to as low as 3-5 percent by 2022 from 5.5 percent last year.

The PDP 2017-2022 was the first medium-term development plan anchored on the “AmBisyon Natin 2040.”

President Duterte earlier adopted the AmBisyon Natin 2040 as the long-term vision for the Philippines, such that “by 2040, the Philippines shall be a prosperous, predominantly middle-class society where no one is poor.”

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