MANILA, JULY 30, 2010 – World Bank Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific Region Jim Adams capped his visit to the Philippines yesterday by expressing strong support for the Aquino Administration’s good governance and poverty reduction agenda.
Mr. Adams was on a two-day visit in Manila to engage in a dialogue with President Benigno S. Aquino III and other government officials on the new government’s priority development programs and how the Bank could support these initiatives. He also met with some representatives from civil society to discuss how the Bank could work with them on initiatives that support the new Administration’s focus on poverty reduction and anti-corruption.
Conveying World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick’s congratulatory message to President Aquino, Mr. Adams said that the Bank is “impressed by the President’s platform of good governance, improved investment climate, better education and health, and access to justice.”
“Our country assistance strategy for the Philippines, titled Making Growth Work for the Poor, is very much aligned with the President’s platform, and we are looking forward to supporting the Administration in realizing its objectives,” said Mr. Adams.
Mr. Adams also commended President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), saying that the implementation of the country’s national household targeting system by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will provide the government a uniform, objective, and transparent criteria for selecting the poor for social protection and other social welfare programs.
“An effective national household targeting system would ensure that social protection programs and pro-poor services like education and health would reach the poorest of the poor as well as prevent scarce government resources from leaking to the better off,” said Mr. Adams.
Mr. Adams also said that tapping the resources and energy of the private sector through carefully designed public-private sector partnerships—as mentioned in the President’s SONA—would go a long way in achieving the country’s goal of making growth more inclusive.
“In the last several decades, governments in both industrial and developing countries have increasingly been utilizing public-private partnerships in accelerating infrastructure development and improving social services delivery especially to the poor,” said Mr. Adams.
The World Bank Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for the Philippines aims to contribute to achieving more inclusive growth by supporting the Philippines in its efforts to maintain macroeconomic stability, improve investment climate, improve people’s access to public services, and reduce vulnerabilities from economic shocks and natural disasters.
Under the CAS, the Bank will promote good governance as a cross-cutting theme by supporting more capable and accountable government at the national, local, and agency level to strengthen core governance systems in public financial management, procurement, and decentralization.
“Civil society organizations can play an important role in helping the new Administration carry out its governance and anticorruption agenda,” said Mr. Adams during his meeting with leaders of some civil society organizations.
Mr. Adams said the Philippines is fortunate to have a vibrant and dynamic civil society that can serve as a partner of both the Bank and the government in the implementation of good governance and pro-poor programs.
“CSOs help amplify the voices of the poor in the decisions and policies that affect their lives. They help improve the effectiveness and efficiency of development programs and projects while holding policy makers and government officials accountable,” said Mr. Adams.