ADB OKs $500-M loan to help PH fully recover from COVID-19
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $500-million loan to help the Philippine government address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on jobs, livelihoods, and the labor market.
The ADB said in a statement the loan would also help create an enabling environment for existing and emerging businesses to flourish and spur more employment.
“With the [Philippine] economy slowly moving towards a sustainable growth path, it is important to ensure private enterprises are supported with policies that make it easier for them to do business and generate employment,” said Sameer Khatiwada, senior public management economist at the ADB.
“This program is expected to help create jobs, get businesses back into action, and pave the way for displaced workers, youth, and women to return to the labor market by enhancing their skills through training and linking them to good quality jobs,” he said.
The multilateral lender is helping the Philippines, through the Post-COVID-19 Business and Employment Recovery Program, in creating a more liberalized business and investment environment to encourage the private sector to grow and create more jobs.
The program also supports government initiatives to expand labor market programs that address skills mismatches and promote training to reskill and retool workers to meet new demands in the post-pandemic jobs market.
The Philippines recorded the steepest decline in employment rates among Southeast Asian countries in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
And while the unemployment rate declined to 4.2 percent in November 2022 from 6.5 percent a year earlier, employment in private establishments remains lower than prepandemic levels.
The new loan from ADB is aimed at helping the Philippine government implement the National Employment Recovery Strategy and achieve its targets to raise employment by 2025.
The ADB helped the government in facilitating dialogue with key industry stakeholders on designing the NERS, which was launched in May 2021 and intended to help improve workers’ access to jobs, livelihoods, and training.
Also under the new loan program is another ADB-supported government initiative called SkillsUpNet Philippines, which provides grants to networks of enterprises to fund workplace skills training.
—Ronnel W. Domingo
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