TOP SOURCE. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. meets with Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa at the regional development bank’s headquarters in Mandaluyong City on Monday (May 23, 2023). The ADB was the Philippines’ top source of active Official Development Assistance among 20 development partners in 2022. (Photo from Office of the President FB page)

MANILA – The Philippines will receive a USD4-billion funding grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the implementation of the Marcos administration’s socio-economic and infrastructure development plans for 2023, Malacañang announced on Tuesday.

This developed after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. met with ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa at the regional development bank’s headquarters in Mandaluyong City on Monday, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Garafil said in a statement.

“This 2023 alone, we expect to provide up to USD4 billion to support the government’s Socio-Economic Agenda and the Build Better More infrastructure development program,” Asakawa, as quoted by the PCO, told Marcos during the ADB reception at its headquarters.

Citing Asakawa’s remarks, Garafil said the ADB’s financial support to the Philippines has increased “by fourfold,” adding that the grants reached a total of USD12.7 billion between 2018 and 2022.

Asakawa said the funding grant for 2023 will be used to support the Philippine government’s preparation of several “transformative” projects such as the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge Project, the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project and the Integrated Floor Resilience and Adaptation Project.

The ADB was the Philippines’ top source of active Official Development Assistance (ODA) among 20 development partners in 2022, accounting for 34 percent (USD10.74 billion for 31 loans and 28 grants) of the USD31.95 billion of the total active ODA.

From 2010 to 2022, ADB’s annual loan financing for the Philippines averaged at USD1.4 billion.

Three loans amounting to USD1.10 billion were signed with the ADB within the first nine months of the Marcos administration.

‘Integrated, comprehensive climate’ action

Asakawa also expressed the ADB’s full commitment to help the Philippines address climate change, saying “it will be a core priority of our assistance going forward.”

He assured the Philippines of the ADB’s support for its climate-related projects, given the country’s vulnerability to the impacts of climate change because of its exposure to severe weather events.

The Philippines ranked first among 193 countries in the World Risk Index 2022, proving its vulnerability to climate change.

Marcos on Monday emphasized his administration’s commitment to climate resiliency and sustainability in all social and infrastructural projects.

In a bid to realize his vision for a “climate-smart and climate-resilient” Philippines, Marcos vowed to implement resiliency measures in the areas of water supply, sanitation, energy and transport systems, and agriculture and food production.

In a statement on Tuesday, Climate Change Commission Vice Chairperson and Executive Director (VCED) Robert Borje said the government would pursue an “integrated and comprehensive” climate action between the government and its partners.

“True to the principle of whole-of-nation and inclusive approach in conducting our policy work, we will constantly foster more meaningful convergence among different sectors and stakeholders, so we could all work together, pool our resources, knowledge and expertise,” Borje said.

“We all need to further scale up climate action, because it is our lives, livelihood and future that are at stake,” he added.

‘Special, enduring’ partnership

Meantime, Asakawa mentioned the ADB’s “special and enduring” partnership with the Philippines as its host country, stressing the contribution of Marcos’ father, former president Ferdinand E. Marcos, in establishing the financial institution’s headquarters in Manila decades ago.

He also emphasized that about 70 percent of the ADB’s staff in its headquarters are Filipinos.

He thanked the Philippines for being a “good host” to the ADB’s annual meeting in September 2022.

The ADB, in its 2022 meeting, announced its USD14-billion assistance package from 2022 to 2025 to help developing member-countries address food security issues.

Asakawa noted that during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) lockdown in early 2020, he had the privilege of distributing food packages procured under the Bayanihan project to over 260,000 vulnerable families in Metro Manila.

Established in 1966, the ADB is committed to achieving prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.