MANILA, May 23, 2023 — World Bank Managing Director for Operations, Anna Bjerde, concluded her two-day visit to the Philippines today, reiterating the World Bank's strong support for the country in achieving its vision of becoming a prosperous, inclusive society free of poverty by 2040.
Bjerde met with Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, Energy Secretary Raphael P. M. Lotilla, Public Works and Highways Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan, Budget and Management Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman, and Secretary Cheloy E. Velicaria-Garafil of the Presidential Communications Office to discuss the country's development priorities. During the meeting, she conveyed the World Bank's continued commitment to supporting the country's development agenda including climate change, renewable energy transition, food and agriculture, water and sanitation, innovation, and digitalization.
“The post-pandemic recovery is underway in the Philippines, with strong domestic demand weathering global headwinds. Since 2022, its economy has been growing rapidly, aided by a substantial reduction in COVID-19 cases that facilitated a full economic reopening. The World Bank is committed to supporting the Philippines achieve long-term inclusive and sustainable growth, attain upper middle-income country status, and eventually become a predominantly middle-class society by 2040,” said Bjerde.
As one of the countries most impacted by climate change, protecting the poor and most vulnerable from disasters will continue to be among the World Bank’s priorities in the Philippines, Bjerde added.
Her trip included a visit to the National Disaster Emergency Operations Center of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), the primary authority responsible for disaster risk reduction and management in the country, where she met with Defense Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr.
She said climate shocks, whether in the form of extreme weather events like strong typhoons or slow-onset trends—like temperature rise, biodiversity loss, land and forest degradation, and ocean acidification—will hamper economic activities, damage infrastructure, hurt the poor and vulnerable most. “We welcome opportunities to support the country’s climate adaptation and mitigation programs to help address these challenges,” Bjerde said.
During the visit, Bjerde held meetings with partners from various government agencies and the private sector. She was accompanied by Manuela V. Ferro, World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific (EAP).
In the meeting with Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, she discussed World Bank support for the country’s economic recovery, food security and nutrition, learning, and stepping up clean energy and digitalization.
She also had a meeting with representatives from the country’s business sector where she sought their views on the Philippine business environment, enabling the digital economy, potentials for expanding renewable energy, and reforms needed in the education sector.
The World Bank has been a partner of the Philippines for over 75 years, providing support to the Philippines’ development programs and projects.
Over the last ten years, World Bank support focused on enhancing inclusive growth through reforms to speed up job creation; social protection such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps); rural development; disaster-risk reduction; resilience and peacebuilding; and development of human capital through expanded support to the health and education sectors.
During the COVID-19 pandemic the World Bank was a major supporter in the purchase and distribution of vaccines and working to ensure the flow of critical medical supplies and equipment, as well as helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs.