THE Asian Development Bank (ADB) said it provided $1.751 billion to the Philippines in 2018, consisting of loans, grants, technical assistance and co-financing, mainly to expand the country’s infrastructures.

In its 2018 Annual Report, the bank said support provided to the Philippines consisted of $1.380 billion worth of loans, grants, and others; $7.4 million worth of technical assistance; and $363.6 million in co-financing.

“In 2018, ADB’s operational emphasis in Southeast Asia was on the development of critical infrastructure, education, disaster relief, and water management. The bank completed a new country partnership strategy for the Philippines, with priority support for the national government’s infrastructure program,” it said.

Under loans, grants, and others, ADB reported to have committed $380 million for improving the growth corridors in the Mindanao road sector; $300 million for expanding private participation in the infrastructure program; $300 million for an inclusive finance development program; and $400 million for emergency assistance for the reconstruction and recovery of Marawi City.

The ADB noted that 300,000 people are expected to benefit from its emergency assistance loan offered to Marawi, which is focused on the water supply and health clinics in 19 barangays with 30,000 households, employment and livelihood activities to 3,600 youth and adults, and mental health support and culturally sensitive peace education to thousands of children. ADB added that it has provided a post-conflict needs assessment for the city.

ADB also said that it provided $300 million worth of loans and technical assistance to the Philippines to “deepen institutional and regulatory reforms to promote, develop, and implement public-private partnership projects in the Philippines supporting the country’s public-private program.”

“The bank also provided technical assistance to help upgrade the country’s financial market infrastructure, and is assisting the Philippine Competition Commission to enforce newly enacted laws that promote free and fair competition,” ADB said.

The ADB also said that it assisted the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) in evaluating the master plan for New Clark City to ensure the construction of a smart, green, disaster-resilient city while enhancing its financial viability.

“ADB sourced $250 million from the completed PPP transaction advisory mandate for the development of a new national government administrative center at New Clark City,” ADB said.

In the gas sector, ADB said that it is advising and assisting the Philippine National Oil Company in setting up the first Liquefied Natural Gas hub in the country.

The ADB added that it has “committed support for the development of a national retail payment system and a new national identification system in the Philippines to reach small businesses, farmers and poorer households.”

The ADB committed $35.8173 billion to various countries in 2018. — Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio