Pleased with ADB support, govt is ready for talks

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The Duterte Administration has welcomed Asian Development Bank’s offer to increase financial support for its economic agenda and said that it is open for talks with the multilateral lender.

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“We are certainly open to discussions on the higher level of assistance being offered by the ADB to put the 10-point socioeconomic agenda on the fast track,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said in a statement issued over the weekend.

Announcing its offer last week, the ADB also affirmed strong partnership for promoting sustainable economic growth, reducing poverty, and improving the welfare and livelihoods of Filipinos.

With a target of more than $1 billion of approved sovereign loans in 2016, ADB said it is ready to increase assistance further based on discussion with the new administration.

ADB President Takehiko Nakao had said the support will be tailored to the government’s socio-economic and poverty reduction priorities, and to the country’s middle-income status.

“The ADB has certainly not failed us in the past, judging from its almost a half-century of development partnership with our country from the time it first extended aid for agricultural and rural development in Mindanao in 1969,” Dominguez said.

“We believe the ADB’s full backing would go a long way in helping President Duterte deliver on his electoral mandate to bring progress to all Filipinos,” he said.

Dominguez stressed that the strengthened partnership between ADB and the Philippines would focus on key areas that the 10-point agenda itself aims to harness to enable Filipinos to truly benefit from a strong economy that the lender projects to grow beyond 6 percent in 2017.

“These ADB priority areas, ranging from infrastructure, agricultural and regional development to employment, education and social protection, are the very same concerns that the new government aims to address by raising beyond the norm our public investments in human and physical capital,” he said.

Based on the government’s prospective development plans, ADB said that it is prepared to support areas such as accelerating infrastructure development with special attention to the role of public-private partnerships, rural and value chain development in agriculture, improving human capital investment including health and education, and social protection through conditional cash transfers.

“We are heartened by the ADB’s pledge to continue supporting the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the regions devastated by typhoon Yolanda as well as the development of Mindanao, which is crucial not only to alleviating poverty but to finding lasting peace as well in the southern Philippines,” Dominguez said.

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