Govt to get $3.9-B loans from Asian Development Bank

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said lending to the Philippines is projected to reach $3.9 billion (about P187 billion) this year.

“Our program is up to $3.9 billion. That includes the APVAX (Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility) project of $400 million that was approved in March,” said ADB Philippines Country Director Kelly Bird during a virtual briefing on Wednesday.

A shipment of 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine arrives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sunday, April 11, 2021. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL TASK FORCE AGAINST COVID-19

The $400-million loan will help the Philippines procure safe and effective vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Based on the ADB’s 2021 lending program, up for approval include the $1.75-billion South Commuter Railway Project; $180-million Metro Manila Bridges Project; $238-million Davao Public Transport Modernization Project; $96-million Sustainable Palawan Tourism Development Project; and $400-million Local Governance Reform Program.

Also included in this year’s lending program include the $400- million Facilitating Youth School-to-Work Transition and the $400-million Building Up Implementation and Local-Level Drivers for Universal Health Care Program.

Last year, ADB’s funding for various projects in the Philippines reached more than $4 billion.

ADB Philippines Senior Program Officer Oscar Badiola earlier said that from an annual program averaging $800 million in 2011 to 2017, ADB is now looking at an average $3 billion over the next few years.

“Most of the ADB’s resource allocation to lending is really directed toward supporting the government’s Build, Build, Build program. It is also very important that across all of the ADB’s investments, conscious effort is being made to ensure that development efforts are environmentally sustainable, that they contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change, and that the benefits these projects bring are identified in its design,” he said.

Badiola said the 2021 program will continue to build on three strategic pillars of accelerating infrastructure development, promoting the development of local economies, and investing in people.