World Bank Managing Director for Operations Anna Bjerde reiterated Tuesday its strong support for the administration of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in achieving its vision of becoming a prosperous, inclusive and poverty-free society by 2040.
Bjerde, who concluded her two-day visit to the Philippines on Tuesday, paid a courtesy visit to cabinet members at the Malacañang Palace to align the Bank’s priorities with the Philippines’ development agenda.
During a meeting with the administration’s top officials, Bjerde conveyed the WB’s continued commitment to supporting the country’s development agenda including climate change, renewable energy transition, food and agriculture, water and sanitation, innovation, and digitalization.
“The post-pandemic recovery is underway in the Philippines, with strong domestic demand weathering global headwinds. Since 2022, its economy has been growing rapidly, aided by a substantial reduction in COVID-19 cases that facilitated a full economic reopening,” Bjerde said during the meeting.
“The World Bank is committed to supporting the Philippines achieve long-term inclusive and sustainable growth, attain upper middle-income country status, and eventually become a predominantly middle-class society by 2040,” Bjerde said.
WB noted the Philippines’ excellent progress in the implementation of its ongoing projects and expressed its desire to support the Marcos administration’s economic agenda.
In line with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028 for deep economic and social transformation, the WB agreed to support the government’s priority areas through engagements in various areas.
It noted the opportunities for the Philippines to further boost investments and long-term growth given its young and skilled labor force and sound macroeconomic policies.
Notable programs discussed were the Teacher Effectiveness and Competencies Enhancement Project (TEACEP) and Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) Scale-Up.
The proposed TEACEP aims to improve the quality of and access to teaching in Kindergarten to Grade 6 in the regions of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), Zamboanga Peninsula, and Soccsksargen (South Cotabato-Cotabato-Sultan Kudarat-Sarangani-General Santos City).
On the other hand, the PRDP Scale-Up will build on previous PRDP to further improve farmers’ and fisherfolks’ access to markets and increase income from selected agriculture and fisheries (A&F) value chains.
The WB-International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) is the Philippines’ third largest official development assistance (ODA) partner, with active loans and grants amounting to around US$6.8 billion which is 21.2 percent of the country’s total ODA.
Among the Cabinet members who met Bjerde were Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla, Public Works and Highways Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan, Budget and Management Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman, and Communications Secretary Cheloy E. Velicaria-Garafil.
Prior to the courtesy visit, Secretary Diokno and Undersecretary Mark Y.C. Joven also met with Bjerde at the DOF office in Manila on May 22, 2023 to discuss the continuing partnership in pushing for transformative projects on agriculture, food security, health, education, RE, and climate finance.
Bjerde was joined by WB Regional Vice President for East Asia and Pacific Manuela Ferro and WB Country Director for the Philippines Ndiamé Diop. (PND)