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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     29 October  2011

Philippines and ADB agree on reform loan

The Philippines and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have agreed on a multibillion-dollar loan assistance program over a six-year period that would finance governance reforms and other measures needed to drive broad-based growth and poverty reduction efforts.

In a statement, the National Economic and Development Authority said the ADB’s Country Strategy Program for 2011 to 2016 would amount to $3.8 billion.

The new strategy, which is fully aligned with the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, will focus on strengthening the investment environment to attract more private funding for infrastructure development and job creation.

“This new partnership strategy builds on the Philippines’ vision of inclusive growth, where no one is left behind,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director General Cayetano Paderanga Jr. said.

Paderanga said the partnership reflects the intensive consultations undertaken by ADB with NEDA and other government agencies, development partners, the private sector, civil society and the academe.

A significant share of assistance will be used to address policy, institutional and investment obstacles in key sectors such as education, energy and transport. Support to policy reforms and capacity development will be given to carry out governance reforms from the country level down to individual projects.

“The new strategy aims to better ensure that all Filipinos, especially the country’s poor, are able to share in the benefits of the country’s economic growth,” Kunio Senga, director general of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department said.

“As the government frequently notes, weak governance and corruption continue to pose a huge challenge to inclusive and sustainable growth, and ADB will be helping the Philippines remove some of the constraints that are holding the economy back from achieving its full potential,” Senga added.

The Philippines is ADB’s fifth largest borrower. The partnership also aims to make the delivery of social services more equitable and efficient, and to help the Philippines address environmental issues, including climate change. This will include support to urban environmental infrastructure, such as waste management, increased energy efficiency and sustainable management of natural resources, including coastal areas and watersheds.

The new strategy places particular emphasis on incorporating cutting-edge knowledge and innovation into ADB-supported projects.

ADB has already supported a number of innovative initiatives in the Philippines recently, including the Pantawid Pamilya Program for the country’s poorest families.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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