THE Philippine government is seeking approval for $6.534 billion worth of financing from Manila-based multilateral development bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), to fund several projects.
The amount covers 15 projects awaiting approval between 2023 and 2025. The financing will mostly be extended through loans, followed by technical assistance and grants.
The bulk of the amount of $5.11 billion will cover projects that have yet to be approved this year, while $1.33 billion will be for projects whose approval is slated for 2024; the remaining $100 million is for a project that could be approved in 2025.
Among projects that have yet to be approved in 2023, the largest are the $2.108-billion loan for the Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge Project and the $2-billion loan for the Laguna Lakeshore Road Network Project.
Bataan-Cavite Interlink Bridge Project is a 32-kilometer permanent road link. It also called the Manila Bay bridge, and will connect the provinces of Bataan and Cavite.
The Laguna Lakeshore Road Network project will benefit road users between NCR and Laguna by improving connectivity through the reduction of transport time and cost to road users. In a document released in March 2023, the ADB said the economic losses due to traffic congestion was estimated at P3.5 billion per day in 2017 in NCR and P2.5 billion in surrounding provinces, including Laguna.
“These losses would rise to P5.4 billion per day in NCR and P5.9 billion per day in surrounding areas by 2035 if no action is taken,” the ADB document stated.
Meanwhile, in 2024, the largest projects that are up for approval are the Manila Metro Rail Transit Line 4 Project, which is estimated to cost $1 billion and the Sustainable Tourism Development Project which is set to be financed through a $100-million loan and $500,000 grant.
The MRT 4 project will be a fully elevated railway mass-transit system to serve the eastern side of Metro Manila, including highly populated areas of Rizal province.
As a high-capacity urban public-transport system, ADB said the MRT4 will address the current transport bottleneck along the Ortigas avenue, will be approximately 13.4 kilometer long, with 10 stations, and barrier-free design to allow inclusive access.
The Sustainable Tourism Development Project, meanwhile, will support sustainable, resilient and inclusive ocean-based tourism development in Coron and El Nido in Palawan Province.
For 2025, the only project that is currently listed is the Mindanao Agro-Enterprise Development Project, which is being proposed for $100 million. The project, ADB said, aims to enhance agricultural diversification and food value chain development in Mindanao.
This will be done through the promotion of private investments in agro-industry; improvement of agricultural logistics and services; and enhanced product quality and competitiveness.
Earlier, ADB said it could lend as much as $20 billion to the Philippines in the next five years once its new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) is completed next year.
ADB Philippine Country Director Pavit Ramachandran recently told reporters the projected annual lending of the bank to the country is $3.5 billion to $4 billion annually. This is the program lending for this year and next year, which could be the same amount for the next CPS.
Ramachandran said much of this lending at 70 percent will be dedicated to large project investments, and the remaining 30 percent is for budget support. He said the CPS of ADB with the Philippine government is being drafted and may be completed in the second semester of 2024.
The new CPS, Ramachandran said, will mainly follow the previous CPS but will have greater focus on climate change-related efforts. These efforts will include financing urban mobility, flood resilience, connectivity, and river basin projects.