The Daily Manila Shimbun


Philippines can tap nearly $4-B aid from ADB

August 20, 2017

The Philippines can tap about $3.8 billion in loans and another $21.8 million in the form of non-lending programs from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to help fund its accelerated spending programs on infrastructure and social services in the next three years,  the Department of Finance (DOF) said Sunday.

A report by the DOF’s International Finance Group (IFG) said the proposed lending pipeline under the ADB’s Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) for the Philippines will focus on three priority areas, of which $1.8 billion or  47.4 percent of the proposed funds will go to infrastructure development, about $1.5 billion or 39.5 percent for education and skills development, access to finance, expanded social protection and employment opportunities for the youth, and $500 million or 13.1 percent for programs on  good governance and finance.

The COBP will cover the period from 2018 to 2020.

“Program loans under the proposed lending pipeline make up 39 percent of the COBP while project loans account for 61 percent,” the IFG said in its report to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III at a recent DOF Executive Committee meeting.

According to the IFG, the ADB has also agreed to explore co-financing arrangements with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on the Philippines’ major infrastructure projects such as the proposed PNR Malolos-Clark Railway and the PNR Commuter South Line project.

On this aspect, the ADB agreed to help the Philippines beef up its capacity and readiness in handling and financing infrastructure projects, particularly on the construction of the country’s railways.

The IFG said the ADB has also agreed to the Philippines’ request to hold quarterly meetings to ensure that the ADB’s country partnership strategy is aligned with the government’s priorities under the Duterte administration.

“The Bank has also responded positively to our request to increase the Philippines’ lending envelope and provide more grants and technical assistance,” the IFG said.

According to the IFG, the projects covered by the COBP for 2018-2020 include the Central Spine Roll-On/ Roll-Off (RORO) Project and the Mindanao River Basin Flood Control Project.

The Bank also committed to design a $300 million package of critical transportation infrastructure initiatives to ease Metro Manila traffic and is now exploring the possibility of co-financing this initiative with other multilateral institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Agence Francaise de Developpement, the IFG said.

For the non-lending component of the COBP, the programs include support for project preparations and capacity building of various government agencies. DMS