PH gets fresh World Bank loan

Published June 3, 2021, 3:54 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Philippines has secured another loan from the World Bank to finance a new project that aims to improve selected government buildings in Metro Manila and strengthen the capacity of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

In a statement, the Washington-based financial institution said on Thursday, June 3, that it has approved $300 million funding for the Philippines seismic risk reduction and resilience project.

According to the World Bank, the fresh loan should help enhance the safety and seismic resilience of selected public buildings in the national capital region (NCR) and strengthen the capacity of the DPWH to prepare for and respond to emergencies.

The World Bank-funded project is set to upgrade approximately 425 structures including school buildings and health centers to reduce damage from natural hazards such as earthquakes and other climate-related events.

“Metro Manila or the National Capital Region is the seat of government and the country’s population, economic, and cultural center,” Ndiamé Diop, World Bank country director for the Philippines said.

“Enhancing the safety of its buildings and structures while boosting institutional response to disasters will help protect the lives and safety of more than 12 million residents, including the poor and most vulnerable,” he added.

Moreover, Diop said the financial support will provide much-needed economic resilience for the country.

In addition, the project will also fund the improvement of the capability of the DPWH to systematically prepare for and respond to potential overlapping hazards including typhoons, floods, volcanic eruptions, and pandemics.

“It will finance DPWH’s essential equipment to upgrade its capability for communications and restoration of mobility and transport in Metro Manila after a major earthquake,” World Bank said.

“It will also improve core capacities and capabilities to organize operations and coordinate resources to respond to other emergencies,” it added.

Located along the “Pacific Ring of Fire” and the Pacific Cyclone Belt, at least 60 percent of the Philippines’ total land area is exposed to multiple hazards, like earthquakes, floods, tsunami, landslides, volcanic eruptions, cyclones, and annual monsoons.