WASHINGTON, December 16, 2020—The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved two projects to support the Philippines’ efforts to recover from the pandemic, improve competitiveness, and build resilience against shocks and natural disasters.
The first is a US$600 million Promoting Competitiveness and Enhancing Resilience to Natural Disasters Development Policy Loan supporting transformational reforms to hasten the adoption of digital technologies, promote greater competition, and reduce the costs of doing business to revive more economic activities and jobs in the country. These will help small and medium enterprises bounce back from the pandemic, help citizens cope with social distancing measures and other health protocols, and improve delivery of social assistance to the most disadvantaged groups in society.
Policy actions supported are critical to a smooth and inclusive recovery, and include reforms aimed at promoting competition and digital infrastructure expansion in the telecommunications sector, shifting to digital transactions for customs procedures to reduce trade costs, indemnity insurance to protect public assets (e.g., schools, hospitals) from natural disasters, and implementing the National ID program for financial inclusion and social transfer program delivery.
“Reforms to improve digital infrastructure and speed up adoption of digital technologies will not only help the country’s efforts to recover from the impacts of the pandemic but will also boost its export competitiveness that is vital for creating more and better jobs in the future,” said Ndiamé Diop, World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, The Philippines and Thailand. “The implementation of the national ID system is a fundamental reform that will allow for better targeting of social programs, reducing of transaction costs, and ensuring the protection of vulnerable groups, especially in times of shocks including pandemics and natural disasters.”
The second project is a US$300 million Additional Financing for KALAHI-CIDSS National Community Driven Development Project (KC-NCDDP) to help address poverty in poor rural communities. The additional funding will provide grants to finance community-identified and community-managed responses that restore or improve basic social services to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other disasters which have disproportionately affected the poorest and most vulnerable municipalities.
“Community-driven development approaches have shown to be effective in accelerating community reconstruction following disaster events and efficiently putting money for priority needs of communities around the world,” said Diop. “I have no doubt that the same approach – communities working together to address common challenges – will help them bounce back from this pandemic and build resilience to future shocks at the same time.”
KC-NCDDP is implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
Using Community Driven Development, poor communities organize themselves, analyze their own situation, prepare project proposals to address common problems, and compete for block grants to finance their own projects. These community projects include local basic facilities such as access roads/bridges, water systems, school buildings and day care centers, in the poorest barangays/municipalities which have limited internal revenue allotment (IRA) from the national government and are otherwise not reached by other programs due to their geographic isolation and difficult circumstances. (IRA refers to the share of local governments in national internal revenue collections.)
In the COVID-19 context, communities can also secure funding for isolation facilities, improvements in water and sanitation and construction or upgrading of health stations. Community members are also responsible for implementation and maintenance of these projects.
From 2014 to 2020, beneficiaries have completed more than 28,000 of such community projects in close to 19,000 barangays (villages) in 830 municipalities across the country, benefitting a total of 7.8 million families.
The World Bank has been a partner of the Philippines for 75 years, providing support to the Philippines’ development programs and projects. Since 1945, World Bank Group has mobilized funding, global knowledge, and partnerships to support the Philippines’ efforts to alleviate poverty, upgrade infrastructure, improve health, nutrition, and education, strengthen resilience against climate change and natural disasters, promote peace, and enhance global competitiveness.
World Bank Group Response to COVID-19
The World Bank Group, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries strengthen their pandemic response. It is supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs.
The World Bank Group is making available up to $160 billion over a 15-month period ending June 2021 to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans and $12 billion for developing countries to finance the purchase and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.