By Reine Juvierre S. Alberto, April 22, 2024; Business Mirror,(CPS)%20for%20the%20Philippines.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has committed to supporting the Philippines in enhancing digitalization, human capital and infrastructure, and disaster preparedness through a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the Philippines.

In a statement on Sunday, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Finance Secretary Ralph G. Recto secured commitments from ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa during a high-level meeting with the ADB and the country’s economic managers on April 17.

The key strategic priorities in these areas will be reflected and aligned in ADB’s upcoming CPS, which also encapsulates the development priorities of the current administration, the DOF said.

According to the ADB, the CPS is the multilateral lending bank’s platform for designing operations to deliver development results at the country level.

Recto said the slow adaptation to digitalization amidst the rise of e-commerce would result in an “immense potential revenue leakage” since a fourth of Filipino consumers have shifted to e-commerce.

For its part, the ADB has committed to collaborate closely with the Philippine government on a proposed Digital Transformation Project for the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

This is in line with the Bank’s long-standing support for Philippine tax reform measures and domestic resource mobilization efforts, the DOF added.

Recto also urged the ADB to boost assistance for human capital development, particularly in education and nutrition programs, to uplift the quality of life of every Filipino.

Banking on the recently enacted Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Code, Recto encouraged the ADB to help the country attract more investors for its flagship infrastructure projects to boost competitiveness, particularly in power and physical and digital connectivity.

The Finance chief also called for increased cooperation in utilizing renewable energy resources to hasten the Philippines’ switch to sustainable energy.

Lastly, the DOF sought the Bank’s support for Manila’s proposal to host the Loss and Damage Fund (LDF)—a global climate fund established in November  2023 under the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The ADB is the Philippines’s second-largest official development assistance (ODA) partner with a total ODA commitment of USD11.40 billion, as of December 31, 2023.

Around USD4.48 billion in ODA loan financing has been secured from the ADB for priority programs and projects for business and employment, agriculture, inclusive finance, domestic resource mobilization, and infrastructure development since the start of Marcos Jr.’s administration.

The meeting was joined by ADB’s Vice President of Southeast Asia Operations Scott Morris; General Counsel Tom Clark; Director General for Strategy, Policy and Partnerships Department Tomo Kimura; and Chief Advisor to the President Haruto Takimura.

Recto was accompanied by National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman.