ADB gives $200-M loan for ‘BBB’ program

Published December 13, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chino S. Leyco

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will finance the preparation and implementing of major infrastructure projects under the government’s flagship “Build, Build, Build” program.

The Manila-based lender approved a $200-million loan, representing the additional financing to the ongoing Infrastructure Preparation and Innovation Facility (IPIF) for the Philippines.

This new loan ADB will support the preparation of several 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.

“Usually, major infrastructure projects take at least five years to prepare. But the government’s BBB program has significantly shortened this preparation period, and the IPIF support is helping with this,” Kelly Bird, ADB country director for the Philippines said.

From a historical perspective, the government’s rollout of its BBB program has been incredibly successful, with public spending on infrastructure at an all-time high,” he added.

The BBB program, a main focus of the Duterte administration, aims to boost long-term economic growth by increasing public infrastructure investments to 7.0 percent of gross domestic product by 2022.

Public spending on infrastructure has been on an uptrend, reaching over 5.0 percent last year, up from around 3.0 percent in 2015 before President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.

IPIF was initially set up with a $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 prioritize 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 program, with the aim of bringing these to construction sooner than would normally occur,” Shuji Kimura, ADB Transport Specialist for Southeast Asia said.