The World Bank has approved two loans to the Philippines to support the country’s recovery efforts from the coronavirus pandemic, improve competitiveness, as well as build resilience against shocks and natural disasters.
In a statement, the Washington-based lender, said it approved $900 million worth of loans to the Philippines for the government’s programs in addressing poverty in poor rural communities and improving resiliency against natural disasters.
The first is a $600 million Promoting Competitiveness and Enhancing Resilience to Natural Disasters Development Policy Loan that supports transformational reforms to hasten the adoption of digital technologies, and promote greater competition.
This policy loan also aims to reduce the costs of doing business to revive more economic activities and jobs in the country.
“These will help small and medium enterprises bounce back from the pandemic, help citizens cope with social distancing measures and other health protocols, and improve delivery of social assistance to the most disadvantaged groups in society,” World Bank said.
Ndiamé Diop, World Bank country director for the Philippines, said that reforms to improve digital infrastructure and speed up adoption of digital technologies will not only help the country’s efforts to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
Diop added that it also will boost its export competitiveness that is vital for creating more and better jobs in the future.
“The implementation of the national ID system is a fundamental reform that will allow for better targeting of social programs, reducing of transaction costs, and ensuring the protection of vulnerable groups, especially in times of shocks including pandemics and natural disasters,” he added.
The second project is a $300 million Additional Financing for KALAHI-CIDSS National Community Driven Development Project (KC-NCDDP) to help address poverty in poor rural communities.
The additional funding will provide grants to finance community-identified and community-managed responses that restore or improve basic social services to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters.
“Community-driven development approaches have shown to be effective in accelerating community reconstruction following disaster events and efficiently putting money for priority needs of communities around the world,” Diop said.
“I have no doubt that the same approach – communities working together to address common challenges – will help them bounce back from this pandemic and build resilience to future shocks at the same time,” he added.
KC-NCDDP is implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
From 2014 to 2020, beneficiaries have completed more than 28,000 of such community projects in close to 19,000 barangays in 830 municipalities across the country, benefitting a total of 7.8 lion families.