President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. made a commitment with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that the Philippines will hold fast to its responsibilities to the regional financial institution just like his father did more than 50 years ago.
“The Philippines stands to significantly gain from this mutually beneficial relationship with the ADB. We are aware of the responsibilities that this relationship carries with it. But I will re-echo my father’s words during the ADB inauguration some 57 years ago: ‘We will meet those responsibilities’,” Marcos said in referring to the patriarch, the late former president Ferdinand E. Marcos.
During the ADB reception at the regional bank’s headquarters in Mandaluyong City on Monday, Marcos also promised to ensure that the plans and projects are stringently and timely executed and the judicious utilization of the loans and other technical assistance granted to the country is implemented.
Being the country’s reliable and unparalleled partner for nearly six decades, the ADB has extended developmental assistance programs that have spanned across several administrations.
Marcos reported that in his nine-month tenure so far, there have been three strategic programs signed with the ADB, and there are many more in the pipeline, which are all calculated to strongly support the pursuit of high-priority developmental goals.
Moreover, the administration is awaiting the release of the Country Partnership Strategy for 2024-2029, which shall clearly spell out the ADB’s recommended medium-term development agenda for the Philippines.
It is guided by the theme, “Investing in Climate, Filipinos and the Future,” consistent with the Philippine Development Plan.
And as the country faces the twin challenges of post-pandemic recovery and climate crisis, Marcos said his administration is looking at the ADB for crucial development interventions in these areas particularly climate-related projects.
“As the “climate bank” of the Asia and the Pacific, the ADB has proven its reliability in extending strategic financing and technical assistance for climate-responsive projects,” he said.
Marcos said that his administration has strategically integrated the climate agenda into its Plan, ramping up annual public infrastructure spending to 6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), consistent with its “Build Better More” agenda.
It will incorporate the elements of sustainability, climate resilience, and disaster-proofing in all phases of societal and infrastructural planning, design, and construction, up to operation and maintenance.
“It will be implemented in our water sector, in our sanitation, energy and transportation systems, including agri and food production, and many other essential areas. Climate change will be the lodestar for our integral national policies and investment decisions,” Marcos explained.
The ADB was the Philippines’ top source of active Official Development Assistance (ODA) among 20 development partners in 2022, accounting for 34 percent (US$10.74 billion for 31 loans and 28 grants) of the US$31.95 billion of the total active ODA.
From 2010 to 2022, ADB’s annual loan financing for the Philippines averaged at US$1.4 billion.
With its continuing commitment to the Philippines, three loans amounting to U$D1.10 billion were signed with the Bank within the first nine months of the Marcos administration.
Additional loan assistance in the pipeline amounting to US$11.55 billion for 2023-2025 includes the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project (US$1.07 billion), Malolos-Clark Railway Project Tranche 2 (US$1 billion), and South Commuter Railway Project Tranche 2 (US$1.75 billion).
Established in 1966, the ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. (PND)