President Rodrigo Duterte said he expects the release of billions of dollars in loans and technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in the coming years to boost the country’s development initiatives.
The President attended on Tuesday, February 21, ADB’s 50th anniversary acknowledging the bank’s contributions to the development of the Philippines.
Speaking before the ADB’s officials and guests, he said the Philippines has received more than $16 billion from ADB in form of loans and grants, adding about a billion dollars more have also been released as loans and investments to private Philippine companies.
“These have made the ADB one of the largest official development assistance partners of the Philippines. For all of these, you have the gratitude of the entire Filipino people,” he said.
President Duterte said he is looking forward to the next round of release of the 4.22 billion dollars in loans and 9.3 million dollars in technical assistance from ADB in the next three years.
“These will be of help in realizing important development initiatives,” he said.
The President assured ADB that the Philippine government would redouble its effort to foster economic growth and reduce poverty.
With the participation of local governments, President Duterte said his administration is also streamlining business registration and processes, providing support for targeted sectors and intensifying the war against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.
The President also vowed zero tolerance to corruption.
In line with these reforms, he said the government is pushing for a simpler, fairer and more efficient tax collection and lower rates and a broader base, noting that his administration is also working on increasing infrastructure spending to 7.4 of the GDP by 2022.
At the same time, he said the government will also solicit the participation of private sector to develop the country’s infrastructure.
The government will also be funding free irrigation, free education in state universities and colleges, as well as universal health care, he said.
With ADB’s assistance, the President said he is confident that his administration will be able to uplift more people from poverty, expand the economy by about 50 percent in real terms, and make the Philippines an upper middle class income economy in 2022.
“May the ADB continue to be an important partner for development for the Philippines, the entire East Asia and the Pacific,” he said.
Established to help developing member countries reduce poverty and improve quality of life, ADB has so far extended $267 billion in financial assistance since 1966. ###PND