World Bank Managing Director Reiterates Support to Philippines' Reconstruction Efforts

February 26, 2010

MANILA, February 26, 2010World Bank Managing Director Juan José Daboub ended his three-day visit to the Philippines today. Mr. Daboub conveyed the World Bank Group’s continuing support to the Philippines, particularly for the immediate reconstruction activities after the recent floods in Manila and the longer-term plans in disaster risk management.

In the first day of his visit, Mr. Daboub met with top officials of the Special National Public Reconstruction Commission (SNPRC) and privately led Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF) where he exchanged views on the country’s post-disaster reconstruction plans and programs.

Mr. Daboub commended the country’s post-disaster efforts especially the establishment of SNPRC to coordinate the country’s post-disaster response. He said, "It is an innovative response to the disasters because it taps the energy, resources, and creativity of the private sector and civil society."

"The World Bank is prepared to support public and private sector initiatives in the areas of flood control, urban development and housing; enterprise recovery; restoration of agricultural systems; disaster risk reduction and local government support," he said.

He also visited affected communities in Metro Manila and discussed with stakeholders how they coped with the disasters and how they could be involved in the reconstruction and recovery. He shared the World Bank’s experience on programs and instruments for disaster response in other parts of the world.

"There is enough global experience to show that community-based, participatory approaches that engage local communities in decision-making, implementation and monitoring activities have increased the quality and speed of reconstruction and have lowered the risk of misuse of funds," he said.

Last December, the World Bank presented to the government and the international development community a Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) done in the aftermath of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng. The Report outlined key recommendations including immediate restoration of rural livelihood; better flood management through institutional reforms, comprehensive planning, and investment in both restoration and new infrastructure; resettlement of flood victims; and providing shelter to informal settlers, among others. The country, the PDNA said, needs about US$4.4 billion in three years for these efforts.

Mr. Daboub also met with Finance Secretary Gary Teves and leaders of civil society groups, the private sector, and international development partners to discuss key development challenges facing the country in light of the recent global recovery, and how the Bank can best support the country in its development agenda. The country, he said, has developed a reputation for macroeconomic stability on the back of rapidly growing remittances thus providing a strong basis for currency stability and international reserve build-up. He added that the country’s savings rate well exceeds investment and its human resources are in high demand around the world.

"All these factors suggest that with higher investments in infrastructure, health and education and a conducive investment climate, there are great opportunities for achieving higher, inclusive growth in the Philippines," said Mr. Daboub, noting that the country would need to maintain a strong fiscal basis to ensure macroeconomic stability.

The need for strong and well-capitalized development financial institutions was discussed at the meeting with Secretary Teves who is a Governor of the World Bank. Both Secretary Teves and Mr. Daboub acknowledged that the demands resulting from the recent global food and financial crisis have stretched the financial capacity of the World Bank Group.

During the worst financial crisis in 80 years, the World Bank Group provided about $88 billion in support to countries in need. The figure includes a record $53.1 billion in commitments from The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which provides financing and technical assistance to middle income countries, home to 70 percent of the world’s poor.

"The needs of the world economy, especially of developing countries, have grown," said Secretary Teves. "Well capitalized international financial institutions are even more important now that we are gearing up the economy for higher growth following the recent global financial crisis. As one of the 186 member-countries of the World Bank Group, we are keen to see the World Bank continue to provide resources in support of poverty reduction efforts in developing countries."

Mr. Daboub, a native of El Salvador, assumed his current position as Managing Director of the World Bank in July 2006. He is responsible for the Bank’s operations in 74 countries (in Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia and the Pacific, and the Middle East and North Africa). In addition, he oversees other administrative vice-presidencies and functions, including the Information Systems Group (ISG) and the Department of Institutional Integrity (INT). Before joining the World Bank, Mr. Daboub was El Salvador’s Minister of Finance and Chief of Staff to the President of El Salvador.

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