World Bank extends $300-M loan to PH for job creation

by Kathleen A. Martin,

Posted at Jul 12 2013 04:39 PM | Updated as of Jul 13 2013 12:47 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- The World Bank has extended a $300-million loan for the country to support the country's efforts in creating more jobs and reducing poverty.

Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank's vice president for East Asia and Pacific

Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank's vice president for East Asia and Pacific, said his institution remains committed in putting a dent in poverty in the country, especially in Mindanao.

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In a briefing on Friday, van Trotsenburg said he visited communities in Mindanao and highlighted the greater need to increase investments in projects to alleviate poverty in the region.

"We, in the bank, think very firmly that the future and long-term developments will bring long-term benefits to the population. It will bring good chance of education to the children and jobs," van Trotsenburg said.

"So the World Bank will invest in Mindanao as we have already done in the past, scale [that] up, and in that sense contribute to the well-being and development of the region," he continued.

Van Trotsenburg noted one of the sectors that may benefit from World Bank support is the agriculture sector, which employs part of the population in Mindanao.

At the same time, van Trotsenburg said he visited communities in Quezon city and noted a big challenge for the government is the big number of informal settlers and providing them with stable houses.

World Bank will be coming up with a new assistance strategy plan for the Philippines mostly geared toward lessening poverty, creating jobs and providing infrastructure in the country.

"The World Bank wants to stay strongly involved in the Philippines, strongly committed. Our strategy will reflect this commitment for the priority areas [such as] poverty reduction," van Trotsenburg said.

Van Trotsenburg noted Asian countries have been "very successful" in fighting poverty but noted the levels of progress in each nation should not be compared with another.

What is important, he said, is the continuing efforts put into decreasing poverty.

The country saw a poverty incidence rate of 27.9% in July 2012, unchanged from 2006 and 2009.

The steady level was despite a faster-than-expected 6.8% economic expansion in 2012.

Van Trotsenburg praised the country's "sound" macroeconomic policies and the increase in investments that have supported the robust economy.