MANILA, Philippines – The World Bank is putting greater emphasis on poverty alleviation and good governance in its assistance to the Philippines, and is ready to commit from $700 million to $1 billion in aid annually.
The Bank announced yesterday that it had completed consultations with representatives of the Philippine government on the former’s emerging Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), the framework that guides the Bank’s program of assistance to the Philippines.
The proposed CAS will be discussed next month by the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors.
Anchored on the government’s Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan for 2004-2010, the proposed CAS is a joint assistance strategy of the World Bank, International Finance Corp. (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). Its overall goal is to support the government in achieving growth via a stable macro economy, improved investment climate, better public service delivery and reduced vulnerabilities.
World Bank Country Director Bert Hofman said the new CAS aims to help the government make growth work for the poor.
“In times of uncertainties like the current global financial crisis, inclusive growth calls for greater social protection for the poorest of the poor to help them cope with economic shocks as well as the impacts of disasters and calamities induced by climate change,” he added.
In the last fiscal year – July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008 – the Bank had set aside $800 million for the Philippines although the latter was able to utilize only $300 million, Hofman said.
Rolando Tungpalan, Deputy Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) who led the government panel at the meeting, said the proposed CAS is “an affirmation of the (World Bank’s) continued support for the country’s development agenda.”
The IFC is the private sector financing arm of the World Bank Group while MIGA provides guarantees to foreign investors against losses caused by non-commercial risks as well as technical assistance to help countries disseminate information on investment opportunities. – Ted Torres, Philippine Star