Manila, May 9, 2012—Pamela Cox, World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific said giving stronger emphasis on improving governance is a step in the right direction, noting that this enhances the investment climate in the Philippines, increases the efficiency of public spending and contributes to growth that benefits the poor and the most vulnerable.
Ms. Cox’s comments came after her first visit to the Philippines as World Bank Vice President for the region – a visit that included participation in the Annual Meetings of the Asian Development Bank; and a meeting with President Benigno S. Aquino III, other government officials, civil society groups, and private sector groups.
Ms. Cox headed the World Bank delegation to the 45th Annual Meetings of the ADB’s Board of Governors.
She also visited communities and residences of beneficiaries of the government’s conditional cash transfer program as well as Manila Water Company’s “water for the poor” project in Taguig.
“The Philippines’s conditional cash transfer program is one example that shows how good governance matters: through better targeting, the program is able to reach the poor and deliver at a far lower cost, while improving human capital,” said Ms. Cox who visited several CCT beneficiaries in an urban poor community in Taguig on May 3 together with Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman.
“I’m impressed that in just a little over three years, 3 million of the 5.2 million families identified as poor are benefitting from the program, with 6.5 million children across the archipelago being helped. I have learned that in areas where the program has been implemented, school dropout rates have decreased; health visits for immunization as well as food consumption have increased,” said Ms. Cox.
In meeting with President Aquino, Ms. Cox reiterated the Bank’s commitment to support the country’s program of good governance and poverty alleviation, stressing that the World Bank will continue to align its programs with the priorities of the Philippine Development Plan.
“I had an excellent meeting with President Aquino. I reaffirmed the World Bank’s support for his administration’s agenda of greater transparency and accountability and commended his commitment to deliver better services to all Filipinos, especially the poor and most vulnerable,” said Ms. Cox.
As of February 2012, the World Bank Philippines’ portfolio consists of 26 projects with a net commitment of US$1.8 billion.
These comprise 18 loans with two GEF-supplements and 8 large recipient executed grants in the areas of infrastructure, water, human development, rural development, social development, public sector management and governance.
In Taguig City, Ms. Cox also visited Manila Water Company’s sewage treatment plant supported by the World Bank Group, designed to improve sanitation in the metropolis. While in Taguig, Ms. Cox also took time to interact with beneficiaries of the company’s ‘water for the poor project’ which aims to help marginalized communities have access to clean water.
Manila Water’s “water for the poor” project is supported by the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA, a multidonor trust fund administered by the World Bank. The US2.8 million grant for poor communities has already benefited more than 13,000 poor households through connection fee subsidies.