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March 21, 2009

Corruption may block fresh aid for Philippines – World Bank
Corruption will be a key factor as the World Bank considers a fresh three-year lending programme for the Philippines worth up to three billion dollars, according to the multilateral lender.

The aid programme "puts greater emphasis on poverty alleviation and good governance" through a "stable macro economy, improved investment climate, better public service delivery, and reduced vulnerabilities," AFP quoted the bank as saying in a statement.

Manila drew up a list of projects for which World Bank funding is needed during consultations with the lender that began in June last year.

The meetings were held amid a corruption scandal in which the World Bank cancelled a 33 million-dollar road improvement project and blacklisted several Chinese, Philippine and South Korean firms it said had colluded in the tender.

That sparked calls by senators for the Philippine Ombudsman to resign for failing to prosecute officials allegedly in league with the public works cartel. One of the proposed aid package's objectives is installing governance and anti-corruption safeguards, particularly in procurement, as well as reforming management of public finances, the bank said.

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