Marcos says Philippines eyeing food stamp program with ADB

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2023 01:08 PM | Updated as of May 22 2023 07:16 PM

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (left) meets with Asian Development Bank President Masatsugu Asakawa (right) at the ADB headquarters in Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City on May 22, 2023. Noel Pabalate, PPA Pool
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (left) meets with Asian Development Bank President Masatsugu Asakawa (right) at the ADB headquarters in Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City on May 22, 2023. Noel Pabalate, PPA Pool

MANILA (UPDATED) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday said his administration is eyeing to establish a nationwide food stamp program in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Marcos said the program, which was first proposed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, is among a string of projects the government has in the pipeline together with the regional bank.

"One of the things that is in the pipeline, that is being developed, that is going to be of great assistance to our people is a proposal by the DSWD for a food stamp program, which I’m surprised that we have never had, but it is something that we can see that has been effective in other countries," he told reporters.

DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian floated the idea earlier this year, in response to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey which showed that 3 million Filipino families were experiencing hunger.

On Monday morning, Marcos visited the ADB headquarters in Mandaluyong City, where he met with the bank's president Masatsugu Asakawa to discuss present and future projects geared towards the Philippines' post-pandemic recovery and climate change resilience.

While ADB has always been a partner in infrastructure projects, the President said the government and ADB are also discussing programs on agriculture, reskilling and retraining, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

With COVID-19 no longer a public health emergency, Marcos said his administration can now "refocus priorities on the development of our economy and the betterment of the lives of ordinary Filipinos."

"I highlighted the need for our country to safely navigate through the waters of the post-pandemic world, and in that way firmly anchor our economy not just on a new normal, but on a better normal," he said in his speech following his meeting with ADB officials.

Marcos said steps to address climate change have been integrated into the country's development agenda, with elements of sustainability, climate resilience, and disaster proofing being included in infrastructure projects.

"Climate change will be the lodestar for our integral national policies and investment decisions," he added.

"As the climate bank of Asia and the Pacific, the ADB has proven its reliability in extending strategic financing and technical assistance for climate-responsive projects," Marcos also said.

Patterned after the World Bank, the ADB was established in December 1966 to serve the development needs of countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

The ADB was the Philippines’ top source of active Official Development Assistance (ODA), Malacañang said.

With $10.74 billion extended to 31 loans and 28 grants, ADB accounted for 31 percent of the country's total active ODA worth $31.95 billion.

From 2010 to 2022, ADB’s annual loan financing for the Philippines averaged at US$1.4 billion, the Palace said.

During the first 9 months of the Marcos Jr. administration, three loans amounting to $1.10 billion were also signed with the regional bank.

ADB has also extended funds to several Philippine government projects, which are expected to be completed between 2023 and 2025. These include the Davao Public Transport Modernization Project (US$1.07 billion), Malolos-Clark Railway Project Tranche 2 (US$1 billion), and South Commuter Railway Project Tranche 2 (US$1.75 billion).

ADB currently has 68 member states, with Japan and the United States holding the largest amount of the bank's shares.


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