President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. presented to the World Bank Group his administration’s priorities aimed at bringing progress and development to the Philippines, Malacañang said Friday.
This, after Mr. Marcos shared on his official Facebook page that he had a meeting with top World Bank executives in New York City on Thursday.
“The World Bank has stood with the Philippines in the most challenging times, bringing resources, linkages, and partnerships to bear on the country’s social, economic, and environmental initiatives since 1945,” Mr. Marcos said.
“We are incredibly grateful and proud to continue partnering with the World Bank to improve the lives of Filipinos,” he added.
Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles, in a press statement, said Marcos met with Manuela Ferro, regional vice president of the World Bank for East Asia and the Pacific, and Erivaldo Gomes, World Bank executive director for the Philippines.
“They discussed how to align the work of the Bank with the President’s priorities such as agriculture, clean energy, education, and post-COVID economic recovery,” Cruz-Angeles said.
Marcos and the World Bank officials also discussed the importance of research and development, as well as the Philippine government’s efforts to establish the country’s own virology institute, Cruz-Angeles said.
Marcos, she said, noted that many Filipino experts still need to undergo further training.
“They exchanged views on the state of Philippine agriculture and the areas that need to be addressed. The President also noted the needs and requirements of MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) to continue to become viable and competitive,” she said.
Cruz-Angeles said Mr. Marcos and the World Bank executives also touched on financial inclusion and the target to digitalize about 50 percent of personal transactions by 2023.
Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medalla, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, and House Speaker Martin Romualdez were also present during the President’s meeting with top officials of the World Bank.
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. Its five institutions share a commitment to reducing poverty, increasing shared prosperity, and promoting sustainable development.
In other developments:
• Cruz Angeles said there have been “preliminary commitments” from American firms to invest in the Philippines, following President Marcos’ meeting with US business leaders. She said, however, that most of these are in the exploratory stage. Marcos on Tuesday (Manila time) held separate meetings with big US firms, including NuScale Power, WasteFuel, and Boeing, to strengthen the aviation and energy sectors in the Philippines. In his fourth day in the US, he met with the executives of American global food corporation Cargill to discuss ways to attain food security and self-sufficiency, as well as to boost agricultural productivity in the Philippines.
On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo met with the foreign ministers of South Korea and Norway on Sept. 19, and his counterparts from Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates on Sept. 22. A statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs said Manalo discussed Malaysia’s interest in collaborating with the Philippines in the digital economy. He also discussed new and existing areas of cooperation between the Philippines and the UAE, including labor relations, trade and investment, tourism, and agriculture.
• Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco urged business leaders in the United States on Thursday to invest in the Philippines’ revitalizing tourism sector, which has been recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking at the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) in New York City, Frasco touted the Philippines’ readiness as a tourism destination, and the “critical role” the sector plays in the country’s economy.
• The Philippines’ economic team discussed with American business leaders and investors the country’s key initiative reforms to revitalize the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medalla, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, and Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman presented vital structural and budget reforms that would help reinvigorate the Philippine economy during the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) Thursday night (Manila time) at The Carlyle Hotel in New York City. Diokno said structural reforms would establish a “business-friendly environment” for domestic and foreign investors.