President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gives a warm welcome to Asian Development Bank President Masatsugu Asakawa who paid a courtesy call on the President at the Department of Finance Building inside the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex in Manila on February 24, 2020. (Albert Alcain/Presidential photo)
MANILA — As part of efforts to acquire funds for its “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, President Rodrigo Duterte is seeking a stronger partnership with Manila-based multilateral lender Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Duterte expressed his desire to enhance collaboration with the ADB during a meeting with its president, Masatsugu Asakawa, at the office of the Department of Finance (DOF) on Monday.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday said he wants enhanced collaboration with the ADB in various areas to push the administration’s development agenda,” a statement from Malacañang read.
During the courtesy call, Duterte sought for ADB’s participation and support as the government embarks on its ambitious infrastructure initiatives.
He sought for the bank’s assistance to improve the capacity of the government to undertake public-private partnership (PPP) projects with increased private sector participation.
Moreover, he congratulated Asakawa for his election as the new ADB president and thanked him for the bank’s continued support to the Philippines.
Asakawa became the 10th ADB president in January.
“I would like to express my appreciation to ADB for its unremitting assistance to the Philippines,” the statement quoted Duterte as saying.
He said the Philippines is determined to strengthen partnership with the bank in different areas of cooperation.
Meanwhile, Asakawa lauded the Philippine government for bringing down the national poverty rate to 16.6 percent in 2018 from 23.3 percent in 2015.
The government aims to further reduce the national poverty rate to 14 percent by 2022.
He also met with Finance Secretary and ADB Governor Carlos Dominguez and renewed support for both the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
In a separate statement, ADB said it is planning to lend a record high USD3.3 billion to the Philippines this year, with about half supporting the government’s infrastructure program.
The USD3.3-billion loan financing will fund the Philippine government’s priority projects such as the South Commuter Railway, the Edsa Greenways Pedestrian Walkways, and the Angat Water Transmission Aqueduct 7, among others.
In 2019, the ADB’s sovereign lending to the Philippines totaled USD2.5 billion, higher than the USD1.4 billion in 2018. (iamigo/sovereignph.com/PNA)