President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said he expects loan growth from loans and grants given by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the coming years as he promised a government free of corruption.
In his speech during the ADB’s 50th anniversary celebration, Duterte acknowledged the Bank’s contribution to the country’s development.
He said the Philippines has received more than $16 billion in loans and grants, adding that about a billion dollars more had been released as loans and investments in private Philippine companies.
“These have made the ADB one of the largest official development assistance partners of the Philippines. For all of these, you have the gratitude of the entire Filipino people,” the President said.
“I particularly look forward to the next round of release of the $4.22 billion in loans and $9.3 million in technical assistance from ADB in the next three years. These will be of help in realizing important development initiatives,” he added.
Duterte assured ADB officials that his administration “would redouble its effort to foster economic growth and reduce poverty.”
The President then vowed zero tolerance to corruption.
“I can assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that there will be no corruption in my term. You have my word,” he said.
With the participation of local governments, the President said his government is also streamlining business registration and processes, providing support for targeted sectors and intensifying the war against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.
He said the government will also solicit the participation of private sector to develop the country’s infrastructure.
The government, he added, will also be funding free irrigation, free education in state universities and colleges, as well as universal health care, he added.
With ADB’s assistance, Duterte expressed confidence that his administration will be able to lift more people from poverty, expand the economy by about 50 percent in real terms, and make the Philippines an upper middle class income economy in 2022.
“May the ADB continue to be an important partner for development for the Philippines, the entire East Asia and the Pacific. May it remain a catalyst for change and a force of progress in the years to come,” he said.
Established to help developing member countries reduce poverty and improve quality of life, the ADB has so far extended $267 billion in financial assistance since 1966.
“In the areas of infrastructure, environment, and education among others, our country is truly fortunate that ADB has decided to establish its headquarters in Manila. This has not only allowed us to secure needed development assistance but also vital employment and technical and information transfers throughout the years,” he said.