WB approves $ 320M in loans to finance RP’s development programs and projects

July 15, 2009 9:15 am 

By Leslie D. Venzon

MANILA, July 15 — The World Bank (WB) has approved $ 200 million in loans to support the Philippine government's programs aimed to address high food prices and strengthen social protection and safety nets for the poor in the midst of the global financial crisis.

The fund, called the Global Food Crisis Response Program Development Policy Operation (DPO), is part of over $ 320 million in total loans the Bank provided to finance the country’s development programs and projects meant to weather the economic slowdown.

“Fiscal year 2009 was particularly challenging as the Philippines and the rest of the world were hit by shocks coming from the global food crisis and the global financial meltdown,” WB Country Director Bert Hofman said.

With its new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) covering fiscal years 2010-2012, Hofman said, the Bank is in better position to help address the country’s development needs as it battles the impact of the evolving global recession.

Hofman said the remaining $ 120 million will finance the $ 70-million Participatory Irrigation Development Project (PIDP); the $ 40-million Rural Power Project (RPP); and the $ 10-million Second Agrarian Reform Communities Development Project (ARCDP2).

The PIDP is designed to improve irrigation service delivery, boost agricultural productivity, improve governance in the irrigation sector and enhance food security.

The RPP is aimed at reducing poverty and improving the quality of life of 10,000 households in hard-to-reach and poorest areas of the country, particularly Mindanao.

The ARCDP2 additional financing, on the other hand, is geared for the completion of critical infrastructure covering 4,153 hectares in several provinces.

The WB, under the CAS fiscal years 2010-2012, has committed $ 700 million to $ 1 billion per year to the Philippines, on top of grants and a large program of analytical advisory activities.

In addition to this, the investment program of the International Finance Corporation, the private sector financing arm of the World Bank Group, ranges from $ 250 million to $ 300 million a year.

IFC’s investments in fiscal year 2009 focused on supporting privatization of the power sector, committing a total of $ 183.5 million for two projects –- the Ambuklao-Binga hydroelectric dam and Energy Development Corporation.

The WB’s total net commitments (approved and ongoing projects) as of May 2009 is $ 1.39 billion, covering 24 active projects spread into various sectors, including infrastructure (37 percent), human development (28 percent), rural development and the environment (23 percent), social development (10 percent) and governance (2 percent).

It also has 81 active trust funds with a total net grant amounting to $ 137 million for development initiatives in several key result areas, including productivity and employment and social service delivery in poor areas. (PNA) scs/LDV

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