PH receives $32.4-B loans, grants in 2022

By Anna Leah Gonzales

October 3, 2023, 2:32 pm

MANILA – The Philippines received more than USD32 billion in official development assistance (ODA) loans and grants last year, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) data showed on Tuesday.

In its 2022 ODA Portfolio Review report, the NEDA said the country's active ODA portfolio of loans and grants reached USD32.40 billion, slightly higher than the USD32.24 billion recorded in 2021.

According to the report, the country received 106 loans amounting to USD30.20 billion, and 320 grants equivalent to USD2.20 billion in 2022.

These funds came from 20 development partners— with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) making the largest contribution, accounting for 33 percent of the total ODA in the country.

In a statement, the NEDA said the portfolio reflected the government’s initiative to sustain a continuous rollout of programs to address the socioeconomic scarring brought by the pandemic, while also seeking to secure assistance for enabling social and economic transformation beyond the pandemic.

Last year, the government received only four program loans amounting to USD1.02 billion for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response and recovery.

This represents a significant decline from the 15 Covid-19 loans received in 2021.

“The significant reduction in ODA devoted to addressing damages brought by Covid-19 reflects the country’s transition towards the new normal and is now focusing on achieving growth in the post-pandemic world,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.

The infrastructure sector received a USD16.07-billion ODA in 2022.

The amount was used to support the "Build,Build,Build" infrastructure program of the Duterte administration, which is continued by the current Marcos administration through the "Build Better More'' infrastructure program.

Included in these big-ticket projects are the Capacity Enhancement of Mass Transit Systems in Metro Manila Light Rail Transit Line 1 South Extension; the Cebu-Mactan Bridge and Coastal Road Construction Project; and the Second Health System Enhancement to Address and Limit Covid-19.

Other sectors which received a substantial amount of ODAs include governance and institutions development (USD7.16 billion), social reform and community development (USD6.14 billion), agriculture, agrarian reform, and natural resources (USD2.66 billion), and industry, trade and tourism (USD370 million).

“In line with the goal of enabling sustainable growth and significantly reducing poverty, the ODA acquired in 2022 underscores the government’s continued emphasis on developing robust infrastructure, fostering good governance, promoting social reforms, enhancing agriculture and natural resources, and driving industry, trade, and tourism for comprehensive and sustainable development," Balisacan said.

"Ultimately, the government’s continuous efforts to maximize the benefits of foreign assistance will pave the way to the country’s transition to an upper middle-income economy," he added. (PNA)