WASHINGTON, December 10, 2021 – The World Bank Board of Directors today approved a loan of US $ 600 million to support the Philippine government’s reform program aimed at positioning the country for a competitive and resilient economic recovery.

the Philippines Sub-program to promote competitiveness and strengthen resilience in the face of natural disasters 3 Development policy loan supports ongoing government reforms, including changes to the Retail Trade Liberalization Law to promote private investment, lowering the cost of doing business and expanding broadband services to promote investment in information and communications technology.

According to Ndiamé Diop, World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand, these reforms are crucial to remove the immediate and long-term obstacles to growth, paving the way for an inclusive recovery.

“Reforms that promote competition in broadband and mobile telecommunications will benefit a large part of the underserved populations by increasing coverage and quality of service, increasing their access to markets, as well as access to services. distance education and health ” noted Diop.

Access to the internet has been critical during the pandemic as those employed have turned to working from home and school-aged children have relied on distance learning.

Likewise, reforms that lower trade costs and improve the business environment should benefit all businesses, but especially small and medium-sized businesses, which will have access to a larger market for their products and services, ” Diop added.

The Philippines lags behind its counterparts in the East Asia and Pacific region in terms of inflows of foreign direct investment, including in its retail sector. Reforms in the retail sector are expected to promote investment by leveling the playing field between domestic and foreign operators, thereby creating jobs, expanding consumer choices and increasing the influx of new technologies.

This new loan is a Development Policy Loan (DPL) that provides rapid disbursement assistance to countries undertaking reforms. DPLs generally support the political and institutional changes necessary to create an enabling environment for sustained and equitable growth, as defined by the borrowing countries’ own development agenda.

Support for increasing the resilience of communities through better digital infrastructure is also part of this new loan program.

“The government introduced the Philippine Identification System or PhilSys as a digital identification platform to foster the digital economy and increase access to public services” noted Rong Qian, Senior Economist at the World Bank. “This should increase access to public services and improve their delivery by providing Filipinos with a unique and verifiable digital identity. “

Filipinos can use this basic identifier for key public and private transactions, including opening bank accounts, identifying and verifying welfare recipients, and paying pensions by 2022, Qian added.

The World Bank has been a partner of the Philippines for 75 years, providing support for development projects and programs in the country. Since 1945, he has mobilized funds, global knowledge and partnerships to support the Philippines’ efforts to reduce poverty, modernize infrastructure, improve health, nutrition and education, build resilience against climate change and natural disasters, promote peace and improve global competitiveness. .