MANILA, PHILIPPINES (3 July 2017) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is ready to assist the Philippine government to deliver on its ambitious Build, Build, Build infrastructure program, including a $100 million loan to fast track priority projects in transport and water system management, ADB President Takehiko Nakao told a Philippine Transport Forum that opened today.
ADB has committed to support the government in three areas — advisory and knowledge sharing, technical assistance, and financial support, Mr. Nakao said.
“The Philippines needs to significantly catch up in infrastructure development to realize its potential and remain competitive,” Mr. Nakao said. “ADB will work with the government through a $100 million technical assistance loan to set up an Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility that will provide knowledge to key line agencies and help fast track priority projects.”
In addition, ADB will provide a $5 million technical assistance grant to support the Build, Build, Build program. This will support development of a project management and information system to assist government oversight agencies in monitoring the progress of projects, identify bottlenecks, and deliver approaches for high quality infrastructure preparation and implementation.
Among other support planned by ADB is a project to improve traffic flows along EDSA, Manila’s major artery. ADB’s Office of Public-Private Partnership is also advising on the planned North-South Rail improvements as well as the new urban center of Clark Green City.
Lack of infrastructure has been identified as one of the most significant constraints to the Philippines’ growth prospects, participants heard. In 2016-2017, the Philippines was ranked 95th out of 138 countries in terms of infrastructure quality in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, well below other Southeast Asian countries, such as Malaysia (24th), Thailand (49th), and Indonesia (60th). In Manila alone, traffic congestion is estimated to cost Php2.4 billion ($47.5 million) per day.
The government’s Build, Build, Build program aims to accelerate infrastructure delivery as an integral part of the 10-point Socioeconomic Agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte. Public spending on projects under the program is targeted to reach Php1.7 trillion from 2017 to 2022. This equals just under 5% of annual gross domestic product, doubling historical spending from 2.5% in 2012.
Representatives of key government agencies and external experts are participating in the 2-day forum, which aims to provide the opportunity for knowledge sharing and discussion within and between government agencies for successful delivery on key transport infrastructure projects.
In its 50 years of working in the Philippines, ADB has provided assistance to 664 projects, amounting to over $17 billion. ADB has also provided 30 non-sovereign loans to the private sector, amounting to more than $1 billion.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.