Overview

  • The Philippines is one of the most dynamic economies in the East Asia Pacific region. With increasing urbanization, a growing middle class, and a large and young population, the Philippines’ economic dynamism is rooted in strong consumer demand supported by a vibrant labor market and robust remittances. Business activities are buoyant with notable performance in the services sector including the business process outsourcing, real estate, and finance and insurance industries.

    Sound economic fundamentals and a globally recognized competitive workforce reinforce the growth momentum. Having sustained average annual growth of 6.3% between 2010-2018 from an average of 4.5% between 2000-2009, the country is poised to make the leap from a lower-middle income country with a gross national income per capita of US$3,660 in 2017 to an upper-middle income country (per capita income range of US$3,896 – 12,055) in the near term.

    In the first half of 2019, economic growth slowed to 5.5% year-on-year, the lowest in eight years, driven by a rapid deceleration in investment growth and a weak external environment. The World Bank projects the country’s real GDP growth at 5.8% in 2019, before accelerating to 6.1% in 2020 and 6.2% in 2021. The outlook considers slower investment growth in 2019, hampered by the delayed approval of the 2019 national budget, and the adverse impact of global developments, including weak global manufacturing activity and trade, as well as heightened uncertainty from escalating trade tensions. Private consumption growth is expected to accelerate in 2019 as inflation eases further. Both fiscal and monetary policy are expected to be supportive of growth as the government is expected to continue its expansionary fiscal policy agenda. Moderating inflation, combined with subdued economic growth, provides the BSP enough policy space to continue to loosen monetary policy.

    In recent years, the Philippine economy has made progress in delivering inclusive growth, evidenced by a decline in poverty rates and its Gini coefficient. Poverty declined from 26.6 % in 2006 to 21.6 % in 2015 while the Gini coefficient declined from 42.9 to 40.1 over the same period. Unemployment has reached historic low rates but underemployment rates, while still high, continues to improve significantly. Although a large share of Filipino workers transitioned out of agriculture, most of them end up in low-end service jobs. Thus, while employment increased between 2006 and 2015, average wages remained stagnant. Measures to generate good jobs and better wages therefore are essential to achieve shared prosperity.

    Last Updated: Nov 25, 2019

  • The World Bank Group’s (WBG) partnership with the Philippines spans more than 70 years, providing longstanding support for infrastructure as well as engagement in key sectors including governance, social protection, water resources, and disaster risk management. The WBG is also an active partner in helping spur private sector growth, expanding engagement with civil society, and promoting peace and development in Mindanao.

    The Bank Group’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the Philippines from 2015-2019 revolves around the theme “Making Growth Work for the Poor,” supporting the country’s goal of inclusive growth that reduces poverty and creates more and better jobs that raise real wages.

    Through funding assistance, technical advice and knowledge, the World Bank Group has been responsive to the country’s development priorities as reflected in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.

    The World Bank Group focuses on peace-building and development in Mindanao.  The Bank supports government’s efforts to enhance agricultural productivity and connectivity from farm to market; boost education, skills, and employability of the youth; and help promote peace and development.

    The World Bank’s support to the country cuts across several sectors including agriculture, social development, disaster risk management, social protection, water, education, transport, and energy.

    As of end of September 2019, the Bank's active portfolio in the Philippines consisted of 11 operations financed by International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loans, Global Environment Facility grants, and large recipient-executed grants with total net commitment of US$3.53 billion. The IBRD portfolio’s sectoral coverage is as follows: social protection and jobs (21%); agriculture (19%); social development (14%); water (14%); urban, resilience, and land (14%); macroeconomics, trade and investment (13%); transport (4%); and energy (1%). The Philippines trust fund portfolio consists of 73 active grants with total commitment of US$198.9 million. In addition, the Bank is also preparing 30 knowledge products valued at US$11.8 million and a Reimbursable Advisory Services for US$3.9 million. The International Finance Corporation has an active advisory service program focusing on enhancing the investment climate, public private partnership projects, climate finance, financial inclusion, disaster insurance and sustainable agribusiness.

    The World Bank Group is currently preparing a new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) to guide its operations in the Philippines from 2020 until 2024. WBG flagship reports including the Systematic Country Diagnostic, the Poverty Assessment, Growth and Productivity Report serve as analytical bases for identifying the main pillars of engagement and priorities for the partnership between the Government of the Philippines and the WBG. The overall goal is to boost the country’s efforts to become a middle-class society free of poverty by 2040.

    Last Updated: Nov 25, 2019

  • Since the Philippines government received its first World Bank loan in 1957, the Bank has financed development projects that have produced significant results for its people.  In the past three decades, the Bank’s assistance has expanded to a wide range of projects and analytical work, policy advice and capacity development in support of the country’s development agenda.

    Here are a few projects and results:

    The Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), started in 2015, has been helping raise rural incomes, enhance farm and fishery productivity, and improve market access throughout the country. It has been supporting provincial planning, rural infrastructure and agriculture enterprise development. It has been using tools such as geotagging, value chain analysis and expanded vulnerability and suitability assessments to help guide public investments toward a modern, value-chain oriented, and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector.

    Since 2015, the project has helped support provincial planning for priority agricultural commodities in all 81 provinces of the country. Since 2015, the project has benefitted around 870,000 beneficiaries – 45% are women – through the provision of farm-to-market roads, irrigation, drinking water supply, agricultural enterprise projects, and coastal and marine resource conservation activities. Specifically, the project has constructed more than 2,000 kilometers of rural roads, reducing travel time by 53% and transport costs by 13.5%. Results of the household survey indicates that farmers benefitting from rural roads, water supply, and irrigation gained around 15.2% increase in annual household real income. Beneficiaries of agricultural enterprise projects (around 270,000 farmers) gained around 30% increase in incomes.

    The Participatory Irrigation Development Project (PIDP) has been supporting the improvement of 58 irrigation systems throughout the country. Since it started in late 2009, the project has rehabilitated and modernized irrigation infrastructure that has been serving close to 126,180 hectares, benefiting close to 196,440 farmers, and their families. It has also provided organizational development and capacity building activities to more than 924 Irrigators’ Associations. Between 2009 until project closure (2018), the average paddy rice yield of farmers increased 17% from 4.27 metric tons per hectare to five metric tons in the wet season and 4.48 metric tons per hectare to 2.26 metric tons per hectare in the dry season.

    The Bank has supported the government’s education agenda through the Learning, Equity and Accountability Program Support (LEAPS) project in the areas of early grade reading and math with a focus on disadvantaged children. The Project has benefitted approximately 4.4 million students, teachers, school heads and other Department of Education staff in terms of improved teaching and learning in reading and mathematics. Specifically, the project has trained approximately 34,000 Grade 1 – 3 teachers and 10,000 school heads in early literacy and numeracy teaching strategies. Good improvements have been recorded in reading and math scores of Grade 2 and 3 students. LEAPS has also successfully supported the development and roll-out of a department of education-wide financial management and operations manual and has trained 14,121 target schools in the new performance incentive scheme.

    The Social Welfare and Development Reform Project II (SWDRP II) has continued supporting the government’s conditional cash transfer program (CCT) or Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which is helping poor households invest in the education and health of children up to 18 years old. The program has made significant impact on reducing total poverty and food poverty among beneficiaries, and has grown to become one of the largest in the world, supporting more than 4.4 million as of April 2019. The program is estimated to have reduced total poverty in 2017 by 1.3 percentage points: from an estimated pre-Pantawid rate of 19.8% to post-Pantawid rate of 18.5%. In addition, the program’s poverty focus helped reduce national income inequality by 0.6 percentage point from 46.8% pre-Pantawid to 46.2% post-Pantawid.

    The Pantawid Program has increased gross enrollment rates for children ages 12–17 years by 4.9 percentage points from a baseline of 80.4%, and by 10 percentage points (from a baseline of 60.8%) for ages 16-17.

    The program is also helping to reduce the gender gap in enrollment between boys and girls ages 6–14 years by 30%. Pantawid is encouraging poor women to use maternal and child health services such as antenatal care: nearly 8 in 10 pregnant women of Pantawid households have the recommended number of prenatal checkups. It also promotes safer birth deliveries performed by doctors and improved children’s access to certain healthcare services, all of which have positive effects on the long-term welfare of beneficiary households.

    The project beneficiaries of the CCT are selected through Listahanan, the national household targeting system for poverty reduction in the Philippines, that reaches three out of four households across the country. The objective selection of 5.2 million poor households in 2016 has helped ensure that government programs are better targeted for those who need it most. Given the project’s success, the Bank is providing additional financing to the SWDRP II for the period 2019-2021. The CCT is being implemented in 145 cities and 1,482 municipalities in 80 provinces in the country.

    The poorest communities have benefited from projects that address their priority needs through a community-driven development approach. As of 2018, the National Community-Driven Development Project (NCDDP) has covered a total of 18,781 barangays (villages) in 800 municipalities. It has funded a total of 26,247 community sub-projects, of which 91% has been completed. The completed community sub-projects reached approximately 5.9 million household beneficiaries (70% of 8.4 million target). The community-managed implementation of sub-projects has also provided temporary employment for a total of 371,341 community members (61% of who are female) thereby providing about US$21 million in cash-for-work programs.  Supported community sub-projects include basic access facilities (access roads, footbridge); basic social services such as health clinics, schools, daycare centers and water systems; as well as facilities for flood/erosion control and environmental protection.

    Through the National Roads Improvement and Management Project II, the World Bank has supported the country’s efforts to establish a road management system to ensure upgrading and preservation of its national road network in an environmentally, socially and financially sustainable manner. Implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the project has improved 295 kilometers and rehabilitated 1,200 kilometers of roads. It has awarded contracts to ensure long-term maintenance of these roads. More importantly, it has helped improve DPWH’s planning procedures and management effectiveness in maintaining the country’s road network.

    To manage natural disaster risks, the Bank has provided a contingent line of credit for moderate to severe disasters, as well as an innovative catastrophe insurance coverage for the most severe and infrequent events. This is combined with technical assistance to help strengthen investment planning and regulations to reduce disaster risk, particularly through support for the revision of the National Building Code. The innovative financing helps ensure that resources are available for the government’s development programs in the aftermath of a disaster. With its global expertise in post-disaster reconstruction, the Bank has been working with development partners and the government in helping develop effective disaster recovery programs and building back better infrastructure and communities.

    The Bank’s assistance has also extended to conflict-affected areas in the country, helping support better governance, access to services, jobs creation and enhanced citizen security and justice. The Mindanao Trust Fund-Reconstruction and Development Project has been supported by a range of development partners and aims to improve prospects for peace and development in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao by improving the social and economic recovery. Results delivered include 573 sub-projects that improved infrastructure, strengthened livelihoods and functional literacy in 315 conflict-affected communities across 75 municipalities. Nearly 650,000 people now benefit from clean water, better roads, more post-harvest facilities and access to farming and fishing equipment.

    Last Updated: Nov 25, 2019

Api


LENDING

Philippines: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments



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Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Manila
26th Floor, One Global Place 5th Ave. corner 25th St. Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City Philippines 1634
Tel: +632-465-2500
Fax: +632-465-2500
comphilippines@worldbank.org
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1818 H Street, NW, Washington DC 20433
Tel: +1-202-473-4709
eastasiapacific@worldbank.org