World Bank commits support for PHL economic recovery plan

The World Bank has redesigned around US$1.9 billion-worth of projects in the Philippines that are expected to be approved this year to support the government’s comprehensive plan to bounce back from the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

On top of this commitment, Mr. Ndiamé Diop, the World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, also assured Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III of the institution’s continuing support for the Philippines’ “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program.

Mr. Diop also once again congratulated Secretary Dominguez on the government’s “decisive and sound tax reforms,” which, according to the World Bank official, “has comparatively positioned (the Philippines) well to face the current pandemic.”

In a letter sent to Secretary Dominguez, Mr. Diop said he looks forward to continuously working closely with the Finance chief “to support and accompany the government’s programs and reforms,” especially as Secretary Dominguez “charts out a solid recovery from the pandemic.”

The World Bank’s pipeline of projects that it has redesigned to assist the Philippines’ economic recovery along with efforts to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency include programs on improving social protection initiatives for poor and vulnerable households, and supporting the government’s capabilities to deliver basic education through distance or remote learning.

Mr. Diop said the pipeline also covers policy loans and projects that aim to sharpen the country’s competitiveness; bridge gaps in the food supply chains; and provide jobs and livelihood opportunities to communities badly hit by the pandemic’s economic fallout.

“Further, we are committed to support the Philippines’ infrastructure expansion program, which is indeed critical for a solid recovery,” Mr. Diop said in his letter.

In his letter, Mr. Diop also underscored the need to accelerate and streamline the processes required to get the pipeline of projects moving in their various approval stages, “given the emergency situation we are in.”

The World Bank has disbursed as of April this year a total of US$1.2 billion in concessional financing to the Philippines to support the government’s efforts to contain COVID-19 spread and provide emergency relief to families most affected by this unprecedented crisis.

It has disbursed to the Philippines US$200 million as additional financing for the Second Social Welfare and Development Project (SSWDP), another US$500 million for the Third Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan (TDRMDP), and US$500 million more for the Emergency COVID-19 Response Development Policy Loan (ECRDPL). DOF.GOV.PH