ADB approves loan for flagship infrastructure projects in Philippines
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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$200 million loan to help the Philippine government prepare and implement major infrastructure projects under its flagship ‘Build, Build, Build’ (BBB) development programme.

The loan, as additional financing to the ongoing Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility (IPIF), will support the preparation of several transformative projects, including the detailed engineering design of the Bataan–Cavite Interlink Bridge Project and the Metro Rail Transit Line 4 connecting Ortigas in Metro Manila to Taytay in eastern Rizal province.

It will also provide project implementation and preparation support for staff at the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Works and Highways, so they can effectively and efficiently manage complex infrastructure projects, said ADB.

“Usually, major infrastructure projects take at least five years to prepare. But the government’s BBB programme has significantly shortened this preparation period, and the IPIF support is helping with this,” said Kelly Bird, ADB’s country director for the Philippines. “From a historical perspective, the government’s rollout of its BBB programme has been incredibly successful, with public spending on infrastructure at an all-time high.”

The BBB programme, a main focus of the Duterte administration, aims to boost long-term economic growth by increasing public infrastructure investments to 7.0% of gross domestic product by 2022, explained ADB. Public spending on infrastructure has been on an uptrend, reaching over 5.0% in 2018, up from around 3.0% in 2015 before President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.

IPIF was initially set up with a US$100 million loan approved by ADB in 2017 to help the government tap into international best practices in preparing flagship infrastructure projects, including railways, roads, bridges, and flood protection facilities. The loan has helped government agencies prioritise key projects, focus on those with higher socioeconomic benefits, identify preparation steps, and conduct feasibility studies. IPIF also provided government officials access to innovative technologies in preparing technically complex projects, such as long-span bridges.

“With this additional financing, ADB will be working closely with the implementing agencies to provide a holistic preparation approach for top priority projects under the BBB programme, with the aim of bringing these to construction sooner than would normally occur,” said Shuji Kimura, ADB’s transport specialist for Southeast Asia.

Image: ADB