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Gov’t eyes $600-million World Bank loan to boost disaster resiliency

DAMAGE caused by several typhoons and the Taal Volcano eruption last year reached P113.4 billion, according to the National Economic and Development Authority. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE WORLD BANK is considering giving the Philippines a $600-million loan to help improve the country’s overall competitiveness and its resiliency against natural disasters.

“The development policy loan series aims to support the government of the Philippines in promoting competitiveness and enhancing resilience,” the World Bank said.

The World Bank included the loan in its updated lending pipeline for the Philippines to be approved starting June. The total lending pipeline stands at $3.005 billion so far.

This will be the third World Bank loan for the project, following a $600-million loan approved in December 2020 and the $400-million loan in 2019.

Other loans up for World Bank approval include the proposed $400-million loan to improve flood management in Pasig-Marikina River Basin; and another $400 million for the country’s first financial sector reform development policy financing.

The World Bank is also looking to grant a $300-million loan to improve the safety and resilience of public buildings in Metro Manila; and provide $280-million funding for a rural development project.

The bank approved two loans for the Philippines so far this year. It granted $500 million to fund the government’s mass vaccination drive against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in March.

It also approved $700,000 in technical support to fund the preparation of a feasibility study for the Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Complex rehabilitation project by the National Power Corp.

Official estimates showed the government’s debt stock could rise to P11.98 trillion by end-2021. — BML

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