What to know about the 2012 ADB annual meeting

Katherine Visconti
For PH, the ADB meeting is a "coming out party" to show the world the reforms President Aquino has done, says Purisima

MANILA, Philippines – Multilateral lender Asian Development Bank (ADB), which loans billions of dollars each year to reduce poverty in Asia-Pacific, will hold its prestigious annual meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center in Manila from May 2 to 5.

The highest policy-making body of the ADB, its 67-member strong board of governors, will meet and talk with movers and shakers in finance and business to help inform decisions on future financing and operations. 

ADB’s 45th annual meeting involves numerous seminars on how to address challenges facing the region — from infrastructure to feeding the growing population and developing resilient capital markets.

Inputs will come from the nearly 4,300 registered delegates from across the globe who include investment bankers, business leaders and media members, according to ADB.

Why the meeting means a lot to PH

With international attention focused on the Philippines, where ADB is headquartered, the meeting represents an opportunity for advertising the country worldwide.

“ADB really is a coming out party to show to the world what President (Aquino) has done,” Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima told Rappler on #TalkThursday last April 26.

It was 9 years ago, under the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, that the Philippines last hosted the annual meeting of the ADB board of governors.

Now the Philippines wants to show what Purisima called its new thesis: Good governance is good economics.

Over the course of the meeting, the Philippine Corporate Investment Pavilion will feature the country’s key strengths and industries through shows, exhibits, receptions and presentations. 

Purisima sees the meeting as an opportunity.

“A lot of our fellow citizens are voting with their feet and leaving the country. That’s a sad thing. We only have one country that’s truly ours. We really need to make sure we give it every chance of success by looking at the positive, celebrating the wins and at the same time looking at the areas to be improved,” he said.  

Ramping up security 

But while the meeting could be a means of gaining good media attention, it could bring bad attention if not managed properly. 

The government is ramping up security in light of the high-profile financial leaders converging in Manila and potential protest actions. 

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will beef up police security for the meeting.

Together, military and police will tighten security in areas “where protestors will gather” such as the Light Rail Transit and Metro Rail Transit stations, bus terminals and even shopping malls, explained AFP Chief of Staff Jessie Dellosa.

At least 200 members of the AFP’s Civil Disturbance Management Companies will also be placed on stand-by should the police request back-up. 

Dellosa cited the need to establish the “credibility” of the country’s security agencies. 

He said security is important “in enabling our government to focus on building stable relations with foreign economic partners for the betterment of the Filipino people.” 

Why the ADB matters to PH and Asia

ADB’s low-interest loans and grants are crucial in funding programs aimed at reducing poverty in the region that is home to two-thirds of the world’s poor.

According to ADB’s 2011 annual report, there were 1.8 billion people surviving on $2 a day, and 903 million more living on less than $1.25 in Asia-Pacific as of last year.

In the Philippines, Purisima said, “the fastest growing part of our population is the bottom quintile. If we are to attain the potential of our people as being our asset, we need to make sure the bottom is skilled and can participate in our economy.” 

Last year alone, ADB loaned $362 million to the Philippines, making it the 10th largest recipient of ordinary capital resources.

The majority of loans went to India, China, Vietnam, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Those funds helped create schools, build roads and start new businesses. – Rappler.com

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