The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has expanded the areas where it is ready to support the Duterte Administration and affirmed its commitment to boost assistance to the Philippines going forward.
This statement by the Manila-based multilateral lender issued Wednesday came after ADB President Takehiko Nakao met with President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss how the institution can support the new administration’s efforts in promoting sustainable growth, reducing poverty, and increasing transparency in government affairs.
Nakao commended President Duterte’s early efforts to consult the private sector, civil society, and other partners to ensure a level playing field for all businesses, and uplift the lives of poor Filipinos, a fourth of the country’s population.
“I was very impressed with President Duterte’s clear messages on building confidence on public service delivery, respecting contracts and transactions already approved and awaiting implementation, removing red tape, and fighting corruption,” said Nakao.
Nakao expressed ADB’s strong commitment to supporting the government’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda.
ADB earlier said it will work closely with the new administration to help increase competitiveness and the ease of doing business; accelerate infrastructure development with public-private partnerships playing a key role; promote rural development and value chains; and strengthen social protection including through conditional cash transfers.
In addition, the ADB said it would also help institute a more progressive tax system and effective tax administration, and invest in human capital such as health and education.
The lender added that high priority would be given to supporting peace and development in Mindanao via road infrastructure rehabilitation, promotion of small- and medium-sized enterprises, and local government capacity building.
ADB is collaborating with the Mindanao Development Authority, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and the Bangsamoro Development Agency, and other stakeholders.
In the first half of 2016, ADB approved loans for the Philippines amounting to $583 million for conditional cash transfers, water transmission improvement to Metro Manila and the vicinity, and water supply development in various municipalities.
ADB added that it is preparing $770 million in additional loans for the rest of the year, related to youth employment, local government financial management, and road improvement in Mindanao.
Based on further discussions with the new administration, ADB said it is ready to make additional increases to assistance in the coming years.
ADB will also look for opportunities to increase its non-sovereign operations (loans, equity investment, and guarantees to the private sector).