The Asian Development Bank said Thursday it is ready to lend a record $9.1 billion to the Philippines over the next three years as the government seeks to invest in major infrastructure and pro-poor projects.
ADB said that under the Philippines Country Operations Business Plan 2020–2022, it would invest 59.5 percent of the three-year sovereign lending program in transportation projects such as railways, bridges, road networks, and elevated pedestrian walkways.
The rest of the financial support will be devoted to the social sector, agriculture, public sector management and sustainable water and urban development.
“This latest Country Operations Business Plan reflects ADB’s strong commitment to supporting the Philippines’ efforts to sustain inclusive economic growth, create business and job opportunities in the regions and widen the reach of the government’s education, health and social protection programs,“ ADB country director for the Philippines Kelly Bird said.
ADB plans to finance projects and programs worth at least $2.5 billion annually in 2020 and 2021, matching the record high of $2.5 billion in sovereign lending to the Philippines expected by the end of the year. In comparison, ADB’s annual lending from 2008 to 2018 averaged only $800 million.
Half of ADB’s 2019 assistance program will fund the first tranche of the Malolos–Clark Railway Project, one of the government’s big-ticket infrastructure projects under the “Build, Build, Build” program.
It is also the largest ADB project financing to date, worth $2.75 billion in total. Contracts for civil works for the project are expected to be awarded before the end of the year and construction works may begin in the second quarter of 2020.
ADB is preparing additional financing this year for the Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility to support detailed engineering designs and feasibility studies for the government’s priority projects under the BBB program.
This will ensure a steady flow of investments into much-needed infrastructure projects that are viable and innovative.
In 2020, transportation and infrastructure will still make up the majority of ADB’s financial support to the Philippines. These include the South Commuter Railway Project that will connect Manila to Calamba and the EDSA Greenways Project, which will construct elevated walkways in four high-density traffic locations along the main EDSA highway in Metro Manila.
The Integrated Flood Risk Management Sector Project is also being prepared for 2020 to finance up to six river basins across the country and the Metro Manila Bridges Project will construct three bridges to help ease traffic conditions in the metropolis.
ADB’s 2020 program will also include financing for the Expanded Social Assistance Project, which will build on a decade of ADB assistance to the government’s conditional cash transfer program and support for the government’s agricultural competitiveness program.