RP  GETS  $500-M  LOAN  FOR  FOOD  SECURITY,  JUDICIAL  REFORM

MANILA, DECEMBER 10, 2008
(STAR) By Paolo Romero - The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will extend a $500-million facility for food security projects of the Philippines as well as programs that aim to reform the country’s justice system.

President Arroyo approved the loan proposals yesterday.

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board chaired by the President approved a $200-million “Food Crisis Response Development Policy Operation (DPO) Loan” of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development or the World Bank, and the $300-million “Governance in Justice Reform Program” also known as “Governance and Justice Reform Program” of the Asian Development Bank during the Cabinet meeting at the Palace.

According to a brief provided by Dureza, the loan aims to support the government in addressing the challenges of high food prices in the short and medium term, “particularly by supporting measures to strengthen social protection and safety net to protect poor and vulnerable populations.”

“The operation focuses on the government‘s policy and institutional interventions in the area of social protection aimed at mitigating the impact of the price shocks and future shocks to the poor,” the paper said.

The operation also responds to the government’s request for quick disbursing budget support to help finance higher than the programmed expenditures for food-crisis-related expenditures.

Among the measures that will be funded by the loan are lowering and stabilization of domestic food prices in the short term; mitigation of high food and fuel prices on poor households; and improved conditional cash transfer program, it said.

The loan will be released in a single tranche and the Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Agriculture, Education, Interior and Local Government, Health, National Food Authority, and the National Nutrition Council will be the implementing agencies.

The ADB loan will support the government “in its effort to create a just and equitable society and enhance the rule of law in the country,” the document said.

The ADB program aims to support the increase of resources available to the justice sector; and improving access to justice of the poor and other vulnerable groups.

The implementing agencies are the Departments of Justice, Interior and Local Governments, and Budget and Management, and Office of the Solicitor General.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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