PH now ADB’s 5th largest borrower

MANILA – With $750 million new loans added in 2012, the total amount of development loans granted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to the Philippines has risen to $13.54 billion.

That amount makes the Philippines ADB’s fifth largest borrowing nation, accounting for about 8 percent of the regional development financing institution’s total sovereign and non-sovereign lending.

Of that total of financing granted, $10.87 billion has already been disbursed, according to the ADB Country Fact Sheet. ADB approved three loans for the Philippines in 2012. These are the $350 million Increasing Competitiveness for Inclusive Growth Program-Subprogram 1, the $100 million Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Program, and the $300 million Market Transformation through Introduction of Energy Efficient Electric Vehicles Project.

The electric vehicles project, ADB said, will replace 100,000 gasoline-powered tricycles with three-wheel, plug-in electric vehicles to promote energy efficiency in the Philippines.

The Increasing Competitiveness for Inclusive Growth Program is a policy-based loan to support the government’s efforts in improving competitiveness and inclusiveness.

The Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Program is designed to improve the conditions of watersheds by generating livelihood benefits in four upland river basins in the country.

Of the agency’s cumulative loans for the Philippines, the energy sector received the biggest chunk, with nearly $3.39 billion or a quarter of the total loans.

The second biggest recipient was the public sector management sector with 20.2 percent share, or $2.728 billion, while the third largest went to the agriculture and natural resources sector with 14.8 percent share, or $2.01 billion.

In 2012, the ADB also approved 16 technical assistance projects worth $23.2 million for the Philippines.

“Of this amount, 67 percent will be used to supplement funds for existing technical assistance aimed at strengthening public–private partnerships in the Philippines co-financed by ADB, the Australian Agency for International Development, and the Canadian International Development Agency,” the agency said.

ADB said its partnership with the Philippines aims to help the country achieve high, inclusive, and sustained growth, and will focus on infrastructure, public sector management, environment, and education.

ADB said it will continue “combining policy-based lending with capacity development to support broader governance reforms, while gradually expanding sector-level policy and investment lending.”

ADB also said it is increasingly shifting from funding stand-alone projects to funding slices of national programs, such as the government’s National Community-Driven Development Program and the K to 12 Education Reform Program.”

Total ADB lending and technical assistance for the Philippines for 2013 to 2015 is $1.87 billion, broken down into $600 million for 2013, $700 million for 2014, and $570 million for 2015.

The 2013-2015 lending program covers projects in the following areas: public sector management, with a $750 million share (44 percent), multi-sector which includes disaster risk financing and social protection projects with a $470 million share (27 percent), education with a $300 million share (17 percent), and transportation with a $200 million share (12 percent).

The Philippines is one of ADB’s founding members when it was established in 1966.