Since the Philippines government received its first World Bank loan in 1957, the Bank’s development projects in the country have produced significant results for its people. In the past 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.
Highlights of some projects and results
The Philippines COVID-19 Emergency Response Project supported the country’s efforts to scale up national vaccination, strengthen the country’s health systems, and overcome the impact of the pandemic especially on the poor and the most vulnerable. It has helped the Philippines ramp up vaccination by supporting procurement of at least 33 million doses of vaccines. The World Bank-financed vaccines are among the first vaccines used for pediatric vaccination, benefitting 7.5 million children all over the Philippines. The ramp up of vaccination has enabled the authorities to open more economic activities, allowing the country to grow 5.6 percent in 2021. The project has also helped scale up testing capacity, from 1,000 RT-PCR tests per day at the start of the pandemic to 24,979 per day presently. It also has also facilitated purchase of 500 mechanical ventilators, 119 portable x-ray machines, 70 infusion pumps, 50 RT-PCR machines, 68 ambulances, as well as other medical equipment and supplies crucial for improving the country’s COVID-19 response.
To mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the welfare of low-income households, the Philippines Beneficiary FIRST Social Protection (BFIRST) Project was initiated to support the government’s flagship conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, known as Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). The BFIRST project aims to strengthen the country’s social protection delivery system to be more adaptive and efficient, focusing on the development and implementation of digital transformation strategy for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), in addition to supporting the cash grants for the 4Ps.
The BFIRST project is also facilitating the adoption of Philippine Identification System (PhilSys) enabled services initially in the 4Ps and Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program of DSWD. By adopting PhilSys, as a valid proof of identity, the DSWD will be able to improve the overall experience for its beneficiaries with streamlined process in accessing social assistance services while preventing fraud and leakages. The benefits of PhilSys adoption include digitizing and streamlining DSWD’s beneficiary registration and enrolment, establishing a United Beneficiary Database (UBD), identifying and removing duplicate or ghost beneficiaries, and enabling financial inclusion.
The project also promotes the use of digital payments in the distribution of cash assistance. The 4Ps beneficiaries used to receive their grants by withdrawing cash through an ATM or over the counter with their Landbank cash cards. Early this year, the DSWD shifted to transaction accounts for grant distribution enabling the beneficiaries to receive funds from other sources, save their money, and make electronic fund transfers such as online bills payment. As of 28 January 2022, there are 3,967,520 beneficiaries of 4Ps who have access to transaction accounts.
The 4Ps is the Philippine national poverty reduction strategy and a human capital investment program which was institutionalized with the passage of Republic Act 11310 on April 17, 2019. The program supports low-income households invest in the education and health of children up to 18 years old. The program has made significant impacts in reducing total poverty and food insecurity among beneficiaries, and has grown to become one of the largest CCT programs in the world, helping more than 4 million households as of October 2022. The program is being implemented in 146 cities and 1,481 municipalities across 80 provinces throughout the country. The BFIRST project supports 4Ps’ efforts to enroll new families who fell into poverty especially due to the pandemic and facilitate the transition of families who graduate out of the program.
The Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan - Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi CIDSS) has been supported by the Bank since 2002. Starting in 2014 it received funding under the KC National Community Driven Development Project (KC-NCDDP) with accumulative lending of US$779 million. The KC-NCDDP Additional Financing (AF) was approved by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors in December 2020 and is closing December 31, 2023. KC-NCDDP is implemented in the poorest municipalities in the Philippines, mainly located in areas characterized by high risks to climate change and livelihood constraints. It aims to empower poor and disaster-affected communities to participate in more inclusive local planning, budgeting, and implementation, and improve their access to basic services. Out of 948 poor municipalities in the Philippines, with a poverty incidence greater than or equal to 26.3 (2009 poverty threshold), 828 municipalities or 87% (a total of 19,647 barangays) were covered under the parent project, and 676 municipalities (13, 934 barangays) are covered under the AF.
Impact Evaluation (IE) results indicated positive impacts on household consumption that contributed to reduction in poverty with a 12% increase in per capita spending among beneficiary households and an even higher increase (19%) for households that were identified as poor at project start-up. KC-NCDDP has so far funded 34, 296 community sub-projects within the areas of basic access facilities (e.g., village roads, footbridges, footpaths – 38%), followed by social services (e.g., day-care centers, classrooms, health stations - 31%); environmental protection (16%); and community production facilities (11%). Since the outset of the pandemic, KC-NCDDP has financed 2,554 isolation units and support training of barangay health emergency response teams in 68% of barangays. More than 1.1 million community volunteers have been mobilized in various positions since 2014 with 63% of leadership positions in community volunteer committees held by women.
The Project has also contributed to enhanced local governance by providing a mechanism for closer engagement between the municipal local government units (MLGUs) and communities. 75% of municipal local government units (MLGUs) have poverty reduction action plans based on KC-NCDDP participatory processes, and 70% of MLGUs have increased representation of peoples’ organizations (POs) in local development councils.
Following Typhoon Haiyan in 2014, KC-NCDDP spearheaded an innovative response to assist disaster-affected municipalities through the Disaster Response Operations Modality (DROM), which was used again for COVID-19 and other disaster events. A NEDA-led assessment of the Haiyan rehabilitation effort cited the DROM as a commendable platform that speeds up post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation. DROM was adopted as a national program in 2019, allowing government to use DROM to respond to subsequent disaster events. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country in March 2020, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) adjusted the existing DROM guidelines of NCDDP, expanding the menu of sub-projects to support community-based activities in terms of preparedness and/or early recovery responses to the pandemic. The DROM has continued under the AF in support of pandemic support and early economic recovery.
Most of the community sub-projects were under the COVID-19 DROM were (i) establishment or upgrading of community facilities to serve as isolation unit in accordance with the DOH protocols; (ii) provision of additional facilities and/or equipment as well as PPEs to enable the community health workers to detect possible cases of COVID-19; and (iii) installation of water and sanitation facilities. The COVID-19 DROM has also provided temporary employment through a cash-for-work scheme for more than 1 million community workers of which 35% were women.
To strengthen the government’s capacity to address disaster risks, respond to, and recover from natural disasters, the Bank has provided the Fourth Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Loan with Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (CatDDO4). The operation is supported by a technical assistance program to help (i) institutionalize the use of Rehabilitation and Recovery Plans for LGUs to rapidly request and access funding from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Fund; and (ii) integrate climate and disaster risk information of LGUs within the National Government’s central risk data system (GeoRiskPH platform). To this end, the Bank is supporting the Department of Science and Technology, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, in collaboration with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Office of Civil Defense, and Department of the Interior and Local Government in the development and rollout of the PlanSmart Ready to Rebuild Automated Planning Tool for Disaster Rehabilitation and Recovery. The web application is developed to help the government formulate and implement hazard and risk informed programs and projects to better prepare for and recover from disasters. Thus far, around 400 participants from the National Capital Region, Central Visayas Region, Caraga Region, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao have been trained. This resulted in the integration of baseline data of over 80 LGUs in the GeoRiskPH platform.
The technical assistance likewise supports strengthening the delivery of community-based DRM related Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program to equip people in vulnerable LGUs with critical and targeted skills to be able to quickly respond to and recover from disasters; and increasing the compliance of National Government Agencies (NGAs) and LGUs in climate budget tagging.
The financing also supports urgent needs created by the COVID-19 crisis. This is combined with technical assistance to help enhance the capacity of national and local governments in developing effective response mechanisms through emergency cash transfers and preparing disaster recovery plans and developing strategies to finance recovery efforts. With its global expertise in post-disaster reconstruction, the Bank has been working with the government to help develop effective disaster recovery programs, post-disaster shelter recovery framework, and building back better infrastructure and communities. The Ready to Rebuild (R2R) program was launched to train communities to be more prepared – to build a culture of preparedness to help local governments and communities anticipate the impacts of disasters and prepare recovery plans even before disasters hit. A total of 350 provinces, cities, and municipalities from all 17 regions in the country have undergone training, including those struck by Typhoon Rai. This translates to 1,800 governors, mayors, and technical staff. An additional 450 technical staff from 150 local governments were trained in the use of GeoRiskPH platform to integrate hazard and risk information into the local disaster risk reduction and management plans.
The Bank’s assistance extends to conflict-affected areas in the country, providing support for service delivery, skills development, and enhanced participatory processes. Supported by five countries and the European Union, the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF) (2005-2021) aimed to promote peace and development in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao. The MTF funded a series of three Reconstruction and Development Projects (RDPs), which fostered inclusive social and economic recovery, social cohesion, and participatory governance through a community-driven development approach, mainly in the area that in 2019 became the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
Through RDP 1 and RDP 2, more communities in the region have had better access to clean water, better roads, farming and fishing equipment, and more post-harvest facilities. Six ex-combatant camps also benefitted from functional literacy and livelihood skills programs.
The final phase, RDP 3 provided for the construction of health stations across six communities, including birthing rooms, midwife stations, small pharmacies, and basic medical equipment to benefit 13,000 individuals in remote areas. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these facilities have provided isolation facilities, care for COVID cases, and vaccinations. The project also financed the construction of 13 community sub-projects such as roads, water systems, post-harvest facilities, among others that benefitted approximately 32,000 individuals, half of whom are women. Productivity and skills trainings were also offered that enlisted 1,297 trainees (half were women). The RDP3 socio-economic interventions translated to increased savings and incomes, better agricultural yields, and food security for conflict-affected families and communities.
The World Bank was selected by the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to administer a new multi-donor trust fund to support Normalization, the track of the peace process that covers decommissioning and transformation of camps into peaceful and productive communities. The new Bangsamoro Normalization Trust Fund (BNTF) is in the process of launching project activities, building on the achievements of the MTF.
IFC has been a leader in developing the thematic bond market in the Philippines, helping Philippine banks issue green bonds since 2017 for climate-smart projects, including renewable energy, green buildings, and energy-efficient equipment. IFC also supported Ayala Corporation’s first social bond in healthcare for the first green cancer hospital in the Philippines and Union Bank’s social bond for financing micro, small and medium enterprises. In April 2022, IFC supported BDO Unibank's blue bond issuance to help tackle marine pollution and preserve clean water resources. This was the first blue bond for the Philippines and also the first for IFC globally.
The Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) has been helping raise rural incomes, enhance farm and fishery productivity, and improve market access throughout the country since it started in 2015. It has been supporting provincial planning, rural infrastructure, and agriculture enterprise development. It has been using tools such as geotagging, value chain analysis, expanded vulnerability and suitability assessments, and climate risk vulnerability assessments to strategically guide public investments toward a modern, value-chain oriented, and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector.
The project has supported provincial investment planning for priority agricultural commodities in all 81 provinces of the country. Since 2015, the project has benefitted over 581,000 farmer and fisherfolk beneficiaries, 48% of them are female beneficiaries. At least an additional 387,000 are and will be benefitting from ongoing and pipeline subprojects including potable water supply, irrigation and agricultural enterprises. The project has also constructed and rehabilitated over 1,500 kilometers of farm-to-market roads (about 660 kilometers more are underway). These resulted in reduction of travel time by 36% and reduction in transport costs by 25%. Results of a household survey indicate that farmers and fisher households benefitting from completed infrastructure and agricultural enterprise subprojects gained 36% increase in annual household real income.
In June 2021, the PRDP received US$280 million additional investment and €18.3 million grant to build on the gains achieved by PRDP. A new PRDP Scale up project with $600m IBRD is under preparation.
Last Updated: May 03, 2023