Speech by Ahmed M. Saeed, ADB Vice-President, Operations 2 at the Malolos-Clark Railway Project loan signing ceremony on 11 July 2019 in Manila, Philippines
His Excellency President Rodrigo Roa Duterte;
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:
Fifty three years ago, the Asian Development Bank first opened its doors in Manila, with a mission to support the economic development of the countries of Asia. Since we first made the Philippines our home, we have been involved in many countries and in many, many projects.
Our work in the Philippines has however always held a special place in the history of the ADB. These efforts began with road network and irrigation projects in Mindanao in the 1970s and since then we have been engaged in a range of sectors, from education to power and social services. Now, under President Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, ADB is considerably scaling up its own support to the government.
As the ADB enters the second half of its first century, and as the Philippines embarks on the next step in its journey of economic progress, it is therefore only appropriate that we find ourselves here today in order to sign loan documents for the Malolos-Clark Railway Project. This will be the ADB’s single largest infrastructure project financing ever at $2.75 billion. We are pleased to be supporting this important flagship project in our host country.
We at ADB congratulate the Government for the strong policy actions that have allowed it to become among the fastest growing economies in the region. This has translated into historically low unemployment and a reduction in poverty. The fiscal situation is strong with increasing tax revenues allowing the Government to implement its ambitious investments in infrastructure and people. Over the last three years, the Government has introduced comprehensive reforms in taxation, business climate, and social protection. These are laying the foundation for higher, sustained and inclusive growth for years to come.
ADB has scaled up support to the Philippines in response to the Government’s reform agenda. From this year to 2022, we expect our annual lending to reach a record $2.5 billion, more than double the amount in 2018. Over half of these funds will go to infrastructure investments.
These are exciting times for the Philippines. ADB will continue to stand by you on the journey towards a better life for the Filipino people.
Thank you and Mabuhay.