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Dominguez asks ADB, WB to have portfolio reviews on PHL projects

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has asked the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank to conduct portfolio reviews on proposed projects in the Philippines.

He also urged the two institutions to consider unifying their procurement procedures and economic assessments.

"It would be a good idea that we meed with both of you, World Bank and ADB, on an annual basis to see how we are progressing with this collaboration," Dominguez was quoted as telling ADB president Takehiko Nakao.

Both multilateral institutions have already committed to assisting the Philippines in its ambitious infrastructure program where the government seeks to spend over P8 trillion until 2022.

Just last month, the ADB and the Philippines signed a $1.3-billion loan for the first tranche of the Malolos-Clark Railway Project (MCRP), the Japan-led lender's largest infrastructure project financing to date.

"We are accomplishing a lot because ADB is 100 percent behind us, especially with this assistance for the Malolos-Clark Railway Project and the secondary education support program," said Dominguez.

"It is proof that the institution is very supportive of our growth," he added.

Once finished, the MCRP is expected to cut the travel time from Metro Manila to the Clark International Airport to less than an hour. The trip takes two to three hours by car or bus at present.

It is expected to be partially operational in 2022, and is expected to accommodate about 342,000 passengers daily. This is expected to increase to as many as 696,000 passengers daily, traveling to Calamba by 2025.

The ADB last year said it was looking at the possibility of increasing annual lending to the Philippines to $2.5 billion from the previous average of $1.5 billion.

Meanwhile, the World Bank in June approved a $300-million loan to provide additional funding for the Philippines' Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

"In the Philippines, ADB is already collaborating with the World Bank on the implementation of the government’s conditional cash transfer program and the rehabilitation and recovery efforts in Marawi, among others," Nakao said in June. —NB, GMA News