MANILA, Feb. 24 (Xinhua) -- New Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa said on Monday that the bank is committed to helping the Philippines further cut poverty and create "high-quality jobs" for its people.
Asakawa, who assumed office as the 10th president of the Manila-based bank last month, met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for the first time at the Department of Finance on Monday and pledged full support for the country's proactive development agenda.
In a statement, ADB said Asakawa also congratulated the Philippine government "for its remarkable success in bringing down the national poverty rate to 16.6 percent in 2018 from 23.3 percent in 2015, thanks to the country's high economic growth rates, job creation, and expanded social assistance programs."
The government aims to further reduce the national poverty rate to 14 percent by 2022.
Asakawa said ADB "is committed to supporting the government's effort to reduce poverty and create high quality jobs for Filipinos by building a competitive economy and caring society."
ADB said its lending to the Philippines is planned to reach a record high of 3.3 billion U.S. dollars this year, with about half supporting the government's infrastructure program.
According to ADB, this will likely include priority projects such as the South Commuter Railway, the EDSA Greenways Pedestrian Walkways, and the Angat Water Transmission Aqueduct 7, as well as initiatives to boost social protection, sustainable tourism, and capital market development.
Last year, ADB said its sovereign lending to the Philippines totaled 2.5 billion U.S. dollars, up from 1.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2018.
The 2.75-billion-U.S. dollar railway project that connects Clark in Pampanga province and Malolos town in Bulacan province, one of the government's major infrastructure investments, is ADB's largest project financing in the Asia and Pacific region to date. Construction work is expected to begin by the middle of this year.
ADB, established in 1966, has 68 members, 49 from the region.