As World Bank president visits country: Think-tank says world bank policies,loans worsen poverty in the Philippines

Press Release
October 26, 2011

After over five decades of flawed policy advice and US$14.7-billion loans from the World Bank, the Philippines remains poor in every sector of the economy, according to independent think-tank IBON, as World Bank president Robert Zoellick visits the country today.

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Zoellick is also set to visit a poor community that has benefitted from the World Bank-designed and -supported conditional cash transfer (CCT) program. According to IBON, the CCT program continues the World Bank’s long history of flawed policy-making in the country and deodorizes the much-discredited globalization model.

In fact, the CCT program is a reaction to widespread poverty in the country caused by decades of uninterrupted economic liberalization promoted by the World Bank and other finance institutions. The domestic economy has been weakened by dozens of World Bank structural adjustment programs resulting in jobless growth, record forced migration and chronic poverty.

According to the group, the CCT is a multi-billion peso temporary relief effort that does not address poverty but diverts from the basic socioeconomic reforms that the country needs. The US$405-million World Bank loan for the CCT program is its second largest out of some 250 development loans to the Philippines since 1957. IBON estimates that the Philippines will be repaying US$500 million on the World Bank CCT loan.

The CCT is part of a country assistance program and World Bank policy advice since 2009. This policy advice pushes for higher taxes, lower government spending, health and water privatization, infrastructure privatization through public-private partnerships (PPPs), and agricultural liberalization.

These policies are packaged by the World Bank as drivers of development, but the country’s experience has proven that these only worsen poverty. Meanwhile, its poverty programs like the CCT aim to cover up the harsh effects caused by its bankrupt development model, said IBON.

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