The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing $12.9 billion in loans and grants to the Philippines over the next three years under its new 2023-2025 Assistance Framework. The amount is equivalent to 718.659 billion pesos at current exchange rates.
In a news conference last Wednesday, ADB’s Philippine Country Director Kelly Bird told reporters that aid from the Manila-based multilateral development bank is estimated at US$4.3 billion (about 239.553 billion pesos) annually.
This is larger than the $8.7 billion 2019-2022 program. During the period, the ADB programmed 2.9 billion pesos worth of aid each year.
“We are discussing the country partnership strategy with the government [CPS] and we are considering three core strategic pillars that align with President Marcos’ 8-point socio-economic agenda, and they will also align with the forthcoming development plan,” Bird said in the ADB’s first on-site press conference Headquarters in Manila since the lockdowns imposed to fight the 2020 pandemic.
Bird said the three core pillars are climate change and food security; climate-smart infrastructure; and Filipino Welfare, which includes projects focused on education, health, social security, and nutrition, among others.
For climate change and food security, the ADB intends to fund climate change policy reforms, mobilize resources and build institutional capacity.
The ADB will also fund climate investments in mitigation, adaptation and conservation – agriculture, flood control, irrigation, green tourism, disaster management and resilience, biodiversity protection
The Manila-based multilateral development bank also intends to focus on institutional capacity building as well as climate change investments in the areas of mitigation, adaptation and conservation – agriculture, flood control, irrigation, green tourism, disaster management and resilience, biodiversity protection.
For climate-smart infrastructure, the ADB will prioritize the financing of transport and communication policy reforms such as e-vehicles and digitization; and institutional capacity building.
An example is the $300 million loan for the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Works and Road Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Loan, which has $5 million to $6 million in technical assistance.
Bird also said ADB will support investments in public mass transit projects, pedestrian walkways, bridges, expressways and road networks.
In terms of investing in the well-being of Filipinos, the ADB intends to support projects aimed at addressing learning losses in education; improving the development of technical and professional skills; and business and employment recovery.
The ADB will also provide funding for social protection; Projects that support nutrition and career transition programs for vulnerable mothers/children; universal investment in healthcare and the healthcare sector; and housing for the poor.
BIRD also mentioned a number of projects that will be included in the new CPS. These are: the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge; the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway; MRT 4 (a railroad connecting Ortigas and Taytay); and the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project.
The list of projects and programs also includes: the Integrated Flood Resilience and Adaptation Project Phase 1; irrigation project on Mindanao; Post Covid Business and Employment Scheme; Program for Competitive and Inclusive Development of Agriculture; and the Program of Action Plan on Climate Change.
For 2022, the ADB has a committed $2.5 billion lending program. This includes $1.75 billion in funding for the South Commuter Railway Project Tranche 1 and $400 million in support for Capital Markets Generated Infrastructure Funding, Sub-Program 2.
The ADB also supports the Climate Change Action Program (Sub-Program 1), co-financed by the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement) with 150 million euros, while the ADB’s share is 250 million US dollars.
The list also includes the $100 million loan for the project to support innovation in the Philippine TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) system.