ADB commits $3.3-B loans to PH in 2020
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has committed a record-high $3.3 billion in loans to the Philippines this year to support the Duterte administration’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.
New ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa met with President Duterte for the first time on Monday afternoon at the Department of Finance (DOF) building, during which the ADB chief thanked the President for contributing to the Asian Development Fund, a grant being extended to poverty-reduction initiatives of ADB’s lower-income developing member-countries in the Asia-Pacific region.In a statement on Tuesday, Asakawa congratulated the Philippine government for its remarkable success in bringing down the national poverty rate to 16.6 percent in 2018 from 23.3 percent in 2015.
By 2022, the government aims to further slash poverty incidence to as low as 11 percent.“The ADB’s partnership with our host country, the Philippines, has never been stronger. The ADB is committed to supporting the government’s effort to reduce poverty and create high quality jobs for Filipinos by building a competitive economy and caring society,” Asakawa said.This year, the ADB had programmed to approve $3.3 billion in loans, of which half will finance big-ticket infrastructure projects under Build, Build, Build, such as the Angat Water Transmission Aqueduct 7, Edsa Greenways Pedestrian Walkways and South Commuter Railway.
The ADB also plans to support other Philippine initiatives in capital market development, social protection, as well as sustainable tourism, it said.
In 2019, the ADB’s loans to the Philippines reached a record $2.5 billion.
To date, the ADB’s biggest project financing across Asia-Pacific was the $2.75-billion Malolos-Clark Railway, whose construction was scheduled to start in mid-2020, it noted.Asakawa also met on Monday with Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, who also serves as ADB governor for the Philippines.In a statement, Malacañang said Mr. Duterte “wants ADB’s aggressive participation” as the Duterte administration implements its ambitious infrastructure development initiative.
“We look forward to ADB’s enhanced support to our Build, Build, Build Program,” Mr. Duterte said.The President also thanked the ADB for its continued assistance to the Philippines.
“I would like to express my appreciation to ADB for its unremitting assistance to the Philippines,” Mr. Duterte told Asakawa as he congratulated him on his recent election as ADB president.The President also expressed his support for Asakawa’s vision for the ADB, noting that this is in line with the government’s development strategy by accelerating infrastructure spending and human capital development, and bolstering macroeconomic strength.“The Philippines, he said, is keen in strengthening further the valued partnership with the bank in different areas of cooperation,” the Palace said. INQ
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