PH, ADB align partnership strategy with PHL priorities

The Philippines and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) discussed further development cooperation and alignment of priorities for the next six years at a courtesy call meeting on Wednesday (August 3) between Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno and ADB Country Director Kelly Bird.

“I am very pleased to hear that the Bank is fully committed to helping us fulfill our goal of inclusive and sustainable long-term growth by aligning the ADB-Philippines Country Partnership Strategy with this administration’s socioeconomic priorities,” said Secretary Diokno in a tweet, following his meeting with the ADB.

Specifically, the multilateral lender proposed three key pillars for its 2024-2029 framework, namely 1) climate action; 2) climate smart transport and communication; and 3) investing in Filipinos’ welfare. Consultations to refine this framework will commence in October this year.

Secretary Diokno thanked the ADB for its strong support and for charting its direction within the Marcos administration’s 8-point socioeconomic agenda.

In the near-term, the Marcos administration seeks to address the most urgent issues confronting the Filipino people, such as rising prices of essential commodities, and the lingering economic scars from the pandemic.

In the medium-term, the plan aims to drive the creation of more jobs, quality jobs, and green jobs. The Marcos administration aims to achieve this through massive investments in infrastructure, human capital development, and digitalization.

Bird said that the ADB is fully committed to support the administration’s programs. He emphasized that the ADB’s program for the Philippines has been large and diversified, with its lending program to the country averaging USD 3 billion annually until 2024.

There are 28 ongoing loans amounting to USD 8.33 billion in the country’s current portfolio. These cover projects in three strategic pillars – 1) infrastructure and long-term investments; 2) promoting local economic development; and 3) investing in people.

Among ongoing projects are the Malolos-Clark Railway Project, EDSA Greenways Project, projects on local governance and senior high school support, and programs for COVID-19 recovery.

The Philippines and the ADB are also working on an energy transition mechanism to quicken the transition of the country to clean energy.

Other programs and projects in the pipeline under the current administration include another railway project, an expressway, infrastructure for disaster risk reduction and management, irrigation, and programs on agriculture, tourism, financial inclusion, healthcare, and social assistance.

As of December 2021, the ADB is the country’s second largest source of official development assistance (ODA) financing reaching almost USD 9 billion. The amount accounts for 28 percent of the total ODA to the country.