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ADB to Lend the Philippines a Historic $4.2 Billion

  • This year, the Asian Development Bank is extending an unprecedented $4.2 billion in loans to the Philippines.
  • At the same time, ADB Philippines Country Director Kelly Bird projected that this year, the country’s gross domestic product will fall by around 5 percent, near the low end of its projected 2.3 to 5.3 percent downturn as recovery slows.
  • Badiola said six projects worth $2.752 billion were approved as of July, out of the 11 projects.
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Metro Manila • This year, the Asian Development Bank is extending an unprecedented $4.2 billion in loans to the Philippines, with initiatives to strengthen the healthcare system in the midst of the pandemic and the development of a pedestrian walkway along the main thoroughfare of Metro Manila still awaiting approval.

At the same time, ADB Philippines Country Director Kelly Bird projected that this year, the country’s gross domestic product will fall by around 5 percent, near the low end of its projected 2.3 to 5.3 percent downturn as recovery slows.

ADB Philippines Senior Program Officer Oscar Badiola said that the country’s 2020 multilateral lending plan increased from $3.3 billion set before the pandemic to $4.207 billion, mainly due to an additional $1.5 billion loan extended in April for the COVID-19 pandemic response by the government.

“ADB’s annual lending operations have increased substantially compared with a few years ago, from an annual program averaging $800 million in 2011 to 2017. We are now looking at a $4-billion program for 2020 and an average of $3 billion in the next few years,” Mr. Badiola said on Thursday at an online media briefing.

Bird said this marked the bank’s “largest-ever” lending plan for the Philippines, exceeding the record $2.5 billion it lent last year.

Badiola said six projects worth $2.752 billion were approved as of July, out of the 11 projects.

Projects planned for approval in August include the Competitive and Inclusive Agriculture Development Program of $400 million; the Inclusive Finance Development Program of $300 million; and the $125-million Health Systems Enhancement to Address and Limit COVID-19 project.

Badiola also said that the $500 million Disaster Resilience Improvement Program will likely receive a go-signal in September, while the $130 million loan for the proposed EDSA Greenways Project should be approved by November.

ADB’s lending program is set at $4.118 billion for next year, plus a $1 billion standby loan for the Bataan-Cavite Bridge project, with the infrastructure sector still at the top of the agenda.

ADB said last year that it would boost its lending program for the Philippines with a shift in focus to infrastructure and transportation.

The ADB Philippines Country Operations Business Plan 2020-2022 released last year had total programmed lending worth $9.1 billion.

[BusinessWorld]

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