MANILA, OCTOBER 25, 2011— World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick arrives in the Philippines today for a visit aimed at strengthening the Bank’s partnership with the country as it pursues reforms for good governance and to overcome poverty.
Zoellick’s visit to the Philippines comes almost a month after the Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino III gave a speech during the Annual Meetings of the World Bank-IMF in Washington DC outlining his moves to boost good governance and accountability to benefit the poor.
“The World Bank shares the view that fighting corruption and boosting transparency are vital to development,” Zoellick said. “We know corruption is a drag on the economy, taxes the poor, and strangles opportunity, so I am looking forward to seeing first hand and learning from some of the reforms President Aquino has put in place to improve governance.”
“The focus on good governance can help in the effort to boost economic growth, as better governance improves the investment climate as well as helps ensure efficient public spending.”
While in the Philippines, Zoellick will meet Philippines President Benigno S. Aquino as well as the economic team led by Finance Secretary, Cesar Purisima. He will also meet with leaders and representatives of civil society organizations, as well as the private sector.
“The People Power revolution of 1986 opened an opportunity. The continued involvement of citizens is important to good governance. And a strong and engaged civil society can combine with transparency and good governance to make for more resilient societies and stronger, more inclusive growth,” Zoellick said.
The World Bank President will also visit a poor community to meet with people benefitting from the Government’s conditional cash transfer program, Pantawid Pamilya, which provides families with cash if they send their children to school and comply with health checks.
Launched in 2008 with support from the World Bank, the program has already benefitted about 2.2 million households that include 6 million children up through age 14.
“At a time when many countries have increasing numbers of people living precariously near the poverty line, targeted safety net programs are vital to help the most vulnerable people to continue to have opportunity and hope,” Zoellick said.
Under the theme, Making Growth Work for the Poor, the World Bank Group has been supporting the Government’s Philippines Development Plan. As of September this year, the Bank has a total commitment of over US$2 billion with an additional US$185 million in commitments from the Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC).