The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has endorsed its programme for the Philippines for the next three years, as presented in its Country Strategy and Program Update (CSPU), 2003-05.

The strategy aims at reducing poverty, promoting equitable growth, improving services delivery, protecting the environment, and promoting good governance.

The priority sectors for ADB support are education, urban development, power, roads, environment management, financial markets, and small and medium-sized enterprise development.

As in the past, the programme includes a regional focus on Mindanao in the southern Philippines. The ADB proposes to lend US$815mn to the Philippines over the next three years for infrastructure and pro-poor projects. However, this is flexible as actual lending levels will depend on the government’s budget situation, absorptive capacity of executing agencies, and progress in sectoral policy reforms.

In response to the government’s difficult fiscal situation, the loans for 2003 are designed to minimise counterpart budget funding (by the government). In support of the government’s poverty reduction efforts highlighted in its medium-term Philippine Development Plan (2001-04), about a third of the 15 ADB proposed loan projects include core poverty interventions.

The ADB has also identified technical assistance grants worth US$9.3mn to help prepare projects, support structural and policy reforms, and strengthen institutional capacity of national agencies and local governments involved in official development assistance.

In 2003 the ADB proposes to prepare a new medium term strategy, which will provide the framework for its future operation in the Philippines.