By Chino S. Leyco
Various stakeholders from Cebu and the entire Visayas region want the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to focus its development assistance on investments in infrastructure, skills development of local workers, and strong engagement with the local private sector, the Manila-based lender said.
During an ADB-hosted forum on Country Partnership Strategy last April 26 in Cebu, stakeholders mentioned quality investments in infrastructure, skills development and greater local private sector participation as priorities they hoped the bank can assist the Philippines with.
According to the stakeholders, these investments will be vital in driving economic growth and job creation in the Visayas region.
They also said that it will stimulate the development of the tourism industry, especially in Cebu, which attracts a growing share of tourist arrivals in the country.
The forum participants likewise cited the need for more projects aimed to expand social assistance for the poor, access to clean water, better sewage and sanitation, and raising productivity in agriculture.
The ADB held a forum the southern region to ensure its growing Philippine portfolio is aligned with the country’s development needs and priorities, especially in areas where development is lagging and income inequalities remain high.
The forum was participated by government agencies, local government, private sector, and civil society organizations, which provided input to ADB’s country partnership strategy and shared their aspirations for Cebu and the entire Visayas region.
ABD said outputs from the forum will help guide bank’s support to the Philippines, particularly in the areas of infrastructure, local economic development, and investments in people.
ADB’s partnership with the Philippines, its host country, has been growing in recent years and is set to hit a record high of at least $2.5 billion this year, compared with lending averaging $1 billion in recent years.
“We want to listen to our Filipino stakeholders so that we can properly prioritize and target our assistance to the Philippines,” ADB Country Director for the Philippines Kelly Bird told participants of the forum. “We also want to engage more with the private sector in areas such as Cebu, where there are dynamic business and industry sectors.”###