THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) is expected to lend a record $9.1 billion to the Philippines in the next three years, with transportation projects receiving more than half that amount.
In a briefing at the multilateral lender’s headquarters in Mandaluyong City on Thursday, ADB Country Director for the Philippines Kelly Bird said the bank planned to finance projects and programs worth at least $2.5 billion annually between 2020 and 2022.
Last year, ADB loans to the country amounted to almost $1.4 billion, the bulk of which was allotted to public sector management, financial sector support and education.
“Last year, the Philippines was the fifth largest borrower, and the year before that, it was the ninth. This year, if we are able to achieve at least $2.5 billion, the Philippines will be the second largest borrower [of ADB funds],” Bird said.
Under its Philippines Country Operations Business Plan 2020–2022, ADB will invest 60 percent of funds under its sovereign lending program in transportation projects, such as railways, bridges, road networks and elevated pedestrian walkways.
The rest will go to the social sector, agriculture, public sector management, and sustainable water and urban development.
“This latest Country Operations Business Plan reflects ADB’s strong commitment to supporting the Philippines’ efforts to sustain inclusive economic growth; create business and job opportunities in the regions; and widen the reach of the government’s education, health and social protection programs,“ said Bird.
For this year, the ADB allocated $1.3 billion to fund the first tranche of the Malolos-Clark Railway Project, which is under the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.
It is also earmarking an additional $200 million for the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility to support detailed engineering designs and feasibility studies for the government’s priority projects under Build, Build, Build.
Other approved and committed funds for 2019 include those for the Secondary Education Program ($300 million), the Local Government Development Program ($300 million), the Capacity Building to Foster Competition Project ($25 million), and the Facilitating Youth School-to-Work Transition Program ($400 million).
Projects set to receive funding in 2020 include the South Commuter Railway Project ($1.2 billion); the EDSA Greenways Project ($100 million); the Metro Manila Bridges Project ($180 million); the Philippine City Disaster Insurance Pool Project ($100 million); and the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project ($70 million).
For 2021, ADB will extend loans for the second tranche of the Malolos-Clark Railway Project ($1 billion), the Metro Rail Transit Line 4 Project ($500 million), the Bataan-Cavite Bride Project ($500 million), the Laguna Lakeshore Road Transport Project ($500 million), the Local Development Program ($300 million), the Facilitating Youth School-to-Work Transition ($300 million) and the Support to Universal Health Coverage Project ($300 million), among others.