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Education, competitiveness projects in Neda pipeline

By Riza Lozada

Education and competitiveness enhancement projects are among those being considered for official development assistance (ODA) financing, National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) data showed.

Neda documents showed the Senior High School Support Program (SHSSP) which was formerly Education Improvement Sector Development Program got approval to secure $300 million in ODA from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“The program will support the government’s implementation of its flagship education reform through the K to 12 program which is a comprehensive initiative aimed at improving the quality of basic education in the Philippines, and lifting the country’s competitiveness,” Neda said.

It added the SHSSP will support the K-to-12 reform through the development of a comprehensive operation and implementation plan and the introduction of critical policy reforms such as modifications to the law governing public school teachers (the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers) and increased investment in secondary education.

“SHSSP will also support investments in teacher training; development and implementation of new curricula at the secondary, senior secondary and higher education levels; development and implementation of a qualifications framework; development and distribution of teacher guides and textbooks; and construction and rehabilitation of schools and classrooms to address existing shortages and to meet future needs arising from rapid population growth,” according to Neda.

The program will be implemented nationwide through the Department of Education (DepEd), which is also the proponent of the project.

The loan for the project was approved by the ADB board last December 15.

Another ADB financing program listed in the Neda report refers to “Increasing Competitiveness for Inclusive Growth Program (Subprogram 2)” with a loan proposal of $350 million.

The principal objective of the program is to provide support for the government’s key reform priorities aimed at employment generation by increasing competitiveness in the economy using an inclusive approach through the labor market, Neda said.

Also, the Water District Development Sector Project (WDDSP), a proposed relending facility under Local Water Utilities Administration (Lwua) for water districts’ rehabilitation and expansion of their distribution networks, development of raw water supply, and enhancement of the sustainability of their operations.

The project was piloted in La Union and South Cotabato and has total cost of $60 million.

The Angat Water Transmission Improvement Project seeks to secure raw water supply for the 15-million inhabitants of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Service (MWSS) service area, through the rehabilitation of the Angat transmission line.

The $124-million project will finance the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the aqueducts, and technical assistance to assess structural and seismic integrity of the transmission system; prepare water safety, risk and asset management plans, covering the optimization of the system; prepare designs of structural and non-structural measures to support the implementation of these plans; and prepare subsequent investments.

The ADB also committed to lend for the project “Encouraging Investment through Capital Market Reforms Subprogram 1 (formerly Capital Markets and Nonbank Reforms Program, Subprogram 1)” worth $300 million.

The program will focus on contractual savings as an engine of demand for financial products, the Bureau of Treasury’s infrastructure, and to a lesser degree, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The ADB will also finance the “Expanding Private Participation in Infrastructure Program (formerly Infrastructure Improvement Support Program, Subprogram)” to increase the country’s investment in infrastructure.

The goal of the project is to improve private participation in infrastructure through policy reforms such as strengthened strategic planning and legal frameworks for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programs; enhanced institutional set-up for sustainable PPP programs and diversified funding modalities for private investment in infrastructure.

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