THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) has committed a $100-million worth of soft loans and grants to assist the Philippines in implementing its ambitious infrastructure and rural development projects, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said.
Pernia said the $100-million commitment is on top of the $4.22 billion loan and $9.3 million technical assistance that the ADB will extend to the country over the next three years as reported by President Rodrigo Duterte during the ADB 50th anniversary reception on Tuesday.
“Because we have so many projects in the pipeline, they need feasibility studies. The $100 million is for project preparation including feasibility studies this year,” he said.
In separate occasions, the government’s economic managers have said Manila would need around P8 trillion to P9 trillion in infrastructure investments between now and 2022 to fulfill the Duterte administration’s promise of high and inclusive growth.
Pernia said the ADB assistance will be used for rail, bridge, irrigation, and road projects all over the Philippines.
“It’s going to be a combination of soft loans and grants, and will be available this year, for sure” he stressed.
During the lender’s anniversary celebration, ADB President Takehiko Nakao said ADB is strongly committed to supporting the 10-point socioeconomic agenda set out by the Duterte administration.
“High priority will be given to supporting peace and development in Mindanao via road infrastructure rehabilitation, the promotion of small and medium enterprises, and local government capacity building,” he said.
ADB’s first loan to the Philippines was in 1969 in the amount of $5 million, extended to the Philippine National Bank, which on-lent the funds to small and medium-sized enterprises.
This was followed by a loan to support agriculture and rural infrastructure development in Mindanao. Since then, ADB has provided $16 billion in loans and grants to the government, and about $1 billion in loans and equity investment to private companies.
It also extended $100 million in technical assistance to prepare projects and build capacity. In the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda [international name: Haiyan]in 2013, it provided $900 million for typhoon-affected areas.