ADB raises funding for PH
The Asian Development Bank will lend the Philippines a higher $945 million this year mainly for infrastructure projects as part of the Manila-based multilateral lender’s commitment to support the Duterte administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
The state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority said that during a meeting between Philippine officials and executives of the ADB’s Philippine country office last month, the latter said that their lending pipeline for 2018 consisted of two policy-based loans (worth $600 million), one result-based loan ($300 million) as well as two other projects ($45 million).
In December last year, the ADB programmed to lend the Philippines a total of $3.68 billion on top of $25.1 million in technical assistance under the 2018-2020 Country Operations Business Plan, its biggest ever, to support the government’s plan to build more infrastructure as well as reduce poverty incidence.
Based on the earlier program, the ADB was supposed to lend the Philippines $920 million this year and $1.4 billion each in 2019 and 2020.
But during last month’s meeting, the ADB proposed to lend $2.47 billion next year and $2.4 billion in 2020.
The ADB would also extend $2.1 billion in loans in 2021.
“The focus on project investments for infrastructure over the next years is welcome. This makes us more optimistic that the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program will be rolled out without delay,” Neda Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan said.
For the ADB’s part, principal country specialist for the Philippines Joven Z. Balbosa was quoted by Neda as saying that “the main features of ADB’s proposed operational support are responsive to needed infrastructure investments in the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program.”
“As we progress from 2019 to 2021, we see that the projects are increasing in terms of numbers and amount,” Balbosa said.
Also, Kelly Bird, the ADB’s Philippine country director, said that “our robust pipeline of projects and programs for the next three years from 2019 to 2021 reflects our seriousness to Philippine development.”
Last month, the Department of Finance said that the Philippines was set to secure from the ADB at least $250 million in loans for infrastructure and financial inclusion programs before yearend.
Finance Assistant Secretary Maria Edita Z. Tan also told reporters that the ADB would extend support to the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
Tan said that the ADB and Jica would co-finance the Reconstruction and Development Plan for a Greater Marawi, which, according to documents, would develop peripheral areas of the city flattened by the five-month fighting between government forces and Islamic State supporters last year.
“Jica will provide grant assistance for the construction of the Marawi City-Saguiran-Piagapo-Marantao Ring Road and Transcentral Roads,” the DOF said.
“The other components (water supply projects; common facilities such as school buildings, health facilities/hospitals, public markets, and house of worship; and 1.6-kilometer Malabang Viaduct) are proposed for ADB funding through an emergency assistance loan,” it added.
The joint ADB-Jica assistance is being review by the Investment Coordination Committee as the National Economic and Development Authority Board earlier approved the cancellation of the Integrated National Resource Management Project loan funds, which will be reprogrammed for Marawi rehabilitation and reconstruction.
Neda estimates under its Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program showed that for areas outside “ground zero,” P53.4 billion in investments were needed, of which P16.3 billion would be sourced from development partners as well as the private sector.
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