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World Bank OKs $1.2 B for PHL schools, boost to economic recovery

MAKATI CITY – The World Bank’s (WB) Board of Executive Directors has approved funding support for two government projects designed to help ensure safe and resilient schools, as well strengthen economic recovery in the Philippines.

 The WB said it has approved EUR466.07 million (US$500 million) for the “Infrastructure for Safer and Resilient Schools Project” designed to support the resilient recovery of disaster-affected schools in selected regions of the country.

Resilient recovery means improving schools’ abilities to continue its functions after being hit by natural disasters.

“Education is a key component of human capital. By improving the learning environment and making schools safer, children are more likely to attend classes, perform better academically, and complete their education, Ndiamé Diop, World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand, said.

The project will finance the repair, rehabilitation, retrofitting, reconstruction and site improvements of schools that were severely affected by earthquakes and tropical cyclones in recent years.

The interventions will enhance physical learning environments for over 700,000 students, with girls making up half of the beneficiaries.

“By strengthening the resilience of educational facilities, disruptions to learning caused by natural disasters can be minimized, ensuring that children can continue their education with fewer interruptions,” Fernando Ramirez Cortes, World Bank Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, said.

The project will prioritize areas where school infrastructure damage and risk are greatest, including the Cordillera Administrative Region, Caraga, Central Luzon, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Davao Region and Soccsksargen.

The project will also support the improvement of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) operations and maintenance manual and tools, ensuring that both central and local level education authorities have up-to-date protocols and information for operating and maintaining restored school infrastructure.

This will enable effective management and maintenance of the infrastructure following disasters.

The World Bank also approved the EUR 699.105 million (US$ 750 million) “Philippines Second Sustainable Recovery Development Policy Loan” to support reforms that increase investment in public service sectors, attract private investment in public infrastructure, particularly in domestic shipping, promote renewable energy, protect the environment, and improve climate resilience.

“The Philippine economy remains resilient in the face of ongoing global and domestic challenges. The reforms supported by this lending program, if implemented, will encourage private investment, innovation, and sustained growth,” said Ralph Van Doorn, World Bank Senior Economist. “Through these reforms, the Philippines can transition faster to a greener economy and achieve its environmental and climate objectives.”

Given the Philippines’ archipelagic nature, marine transport is critical for trade and connecting its numerous islands and destinations, enabling efficient movement of goods and products.

Van Doorn said that attracting more local and foreign investments in domestic shipping can boost the country’s competitiveness.

The lending program also supports reforms that aim to enhance plastic waste reduction, recovery, and recycling; promote green transportation; and encourage the production and consumption of environment friendly goods and services through public procurement.

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