THE government has secured $623.3 million (P31.53 billion) in loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for its infrastructure, youth and competition programs.
In a ceremony in Manila on Friday, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd and ADB Vice President Ahmed Saeed signed agreements on the $400-million Facilitating Youth School-to-Work Transition Program Subprogram 2, the $200 million in additional financing for the ongoing Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility (IPIF), and the $23.3-million Capacity Building to Foster Competition Project.
The first program, Dominguez said, would strengthen the country’s “ability to carry out policy reforms and government initiatives aimed at improving the employability of our talented young workforce.”
The additional funds for the IPIF will support the preparation of several transformative projects, according to the ADB. These include the detailed engineering design of the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge Project and the Metro Rail Transit Line 4 connecting Ortigas to Rizal province’s Taytay town.
The third program, Dominguez said, “will help the Philippine government in the implementation of the Philippine Competition Act, particularly in improving the government’s capacity to enforce the competition law, thereby promoting free and fair competition in various economic activities and industries.”
The loans are part of the $10.3 billion in financing support that the Manila-based multilateral lender has committed to provide the Philippines over the medium term.
Of the total amount, the ADB has proposed loan financing of $2.5 billion this year and $7.8 billion in the next two years. From 2009 to 2019, the ADB’s loan financing to the Philippines amounted to $7.2 billion.
“The proposed substantial increase in ADB’s loan assistance underscores the bank’s strong support in translating the Duterte administration’s development objectives into concrete investments, particularly related to the country’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program, human capital development, disaster preparedness, tourism, health care and agriculture. In short, the whole range of our development concerns,” Dominguez said.
For his part, Saeed said ADB’s record lending program for 2019 and with $2.5 billion annual lending going forward for 2020 to 2022 “confirms ADB’s strong and close partnership with the Philippines and our continued commitment to support the Philippines in delivering its development agenda.”