The Asian Development Bank (ADB) which has its headquarters in Metro Manila, will now focus its local financing program to help accelerate job generation. ADB has also extended loans to help the country’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
ADB Philippines country director Kelly Bird said during the Task Group on Economic Recovery-National Employment Recovery Strategy (TGER-NERS) Job Summit on Labor Day, they have a US$3.5-billion lending program for the Philippines this year mainly supporting infrastructure projects that will create construction and related jobs.
Bird said ADB-funder infrastructure projects this year include the Malolos-Clark Railway Project, the South Commuter Railway Project, the Davao Modern Bus Project, the Metro Manila Bridges Project, and the Palawan Sustainable Tourism Project.
“Our own estimates show that US$1 billion of infrastructure investments create an additional US$1.5 billion in gross domestic product,” he said, adding that the infrastructure projects will help in the economic recovery and employment in the country.
Bird said ADB has also partnered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to reskill Filipino youth for their transition to the job market.
“This includes DOLE’s flagship program JobStart Philippines that has helped more than 20,000 out-of-school young Filipinos find meaningful employment,” he added.
Bird assured ADB aims to support the Philippine government in these programs that will help ease the hiked unemployment rate and boost work in the informal sector where workers lost jobs due to the pandemic.
“The Build Build Build infrastructure program, tax reforms, regulatory reforms, and by-sector reforms place the Philippines in a very good position to return to its economic growth of above 6%,” he noted.
Last March, ADB has approved a US$400-million loan package for the Philippine government’s Covid-19 vaccination program. In 2020, ADB provided some US$4.2 billion funding assistance to the country for its fiscal and health response to the pandemic, including the establishment of a modern laboratory in San Fernando City, which can process 3,000 Covid-19 tests per day.
The assistance also funded food baskets which the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, as partners, distributed to over 160,000 vulnerable households, or 600,000 individuals, in Metro Manila during the enhanced community quarantine last year.
Bird said ADB has also provided a grant to procure education kits to poor children in remote areas to help them while face-to-face learning is restricted.
“ADB remains committed to support the Philippines as its host country, to get through this pandemic and return to high economic growth and job creation,” he explained.