The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is considering lending $3 billion to the Philippines this year, focused on programs geared to infrastructure and improving climate change resiliency.

“So, we’re looking at about P3 billion in indicative lending. It’s going to be focusing on infrastructure. We’re also shifting towards financing of climate change reforms, post-COVID recovery and skills development,” ADB Philippines Country Director Kelly Bird said in an online webinar organized by the Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Friday.

Among the projects to be funded this year are the South Commuter Railway project, the Davao Modern Bus Project, the Climate Change Action Policy, the Technical Vocational Education and Training Project, and a Post-COVID Business and Employment Recovery Program, Mr. Bird said.

He said the bank is in the final stages of preparations for supporting the South Commuter Railway project, which will run between Manila and Calamba.

The Davao Modern Bus project is also in the final stages of preparations. It will gradually replace some jeepneys and smaller transport units, Mr. Bird added.

The long-term impact of infrastructure is crucial in bringing economic development outside the capital, he said.

“It’s really designed for helping to decongest Metro Manila, but also help promote economic development outside Metro Manila – going out further north and further south, but particularly further north over the longer term. So if you do invest in good infrastructure, population will shift to those areas over the longer term,” Mr. Bird said.

The ADB is expecting the Philippine economy to grow by 6% this year, which is below the government’s official 7-9% goal. — Luz Wendy T. Noble