Marcos Fact Checks

FACT CHECK: Ex-president Marcos was not founder of the Asian Development Bank

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FACT CHECK: Ex-president Marcos was not founder of the Asian Development Bank
The elder Marcos was not the founder of ADB, although he and other Philippine delegates supported the bid for the regional bank to be headquartered in Manila, according to a historian

Claim: Former president Ferdinand E. Marcos was the founder of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). 


Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a YouTube video posted on May 22 with the title “GRABE IBINUNYAG NA! SI DATING PANGULONG FERDINAND E. MARCOS ANG NAGTATAG NG ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK” (Wow, it has been revealed! Former president Ferdinand E. Marcos founded the Asian Development Bank). The video has 65,000 views, 2,000 likes, and 200 comments as of writing. 

Facts: According to the ADB website, the bank was founded in the 1960s with the aim of fostering economic growth and cooperation in Asia. A resolution passed at the first Ministerial Conference on Asian Economic Cooperation held by the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East in 1963 paved the way for the creation of the regional bank.

The ADB was officially established through an agreement adopted by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Asian Development Bank, convened in Manila in December 1965. The agreement came into force on August 22, 1966.

ADB’s first president, Takeshi Watanabe, has been called the “Father of the Bank,” according to the book “Banking on the Future of Asia and the Pacific: 50 Years of the Asian Development Bank” written by academic and historian Peter McCawley. 

McCawley wrote: “This special recognition reflects the remarkable role that he [Watanabe] played in the establishment of the institution.”

Manila headquarters: The YouTube video features a clip from ADB’s reception for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. held on May 22, 2023. In his welcome remarks, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa mentioned the elder Marcos: “The Asian Development Bank has a special and enduring partnership with the Philippines as our host country. Mr. President, your father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, was instrumental in establishing ADB’s headquarters in Manila in 1966.”

According to McCawley, the former president and other Philippine delegates had lobbied for Manila to host the bank’s headquarters. After three rounds of voting, the Philippine capital garnered the majority vote over several other cities – including Tokyo, which had been the leading candidate to host the new institution. 

Before the second round of voting, McCawley recounted how Manila gathered support for its bid. He wrote: 

“[UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East Executive Secretary] U Nyun announced that he would conduct a second ballot the following morning, giving delegates from the remaining three cities – Manila, Tehran, and Tokyo – an opportunity to gather further support overnight. The delegates then enjoyed an evening of lively entertainment – until almost 2 am – on board the S.S. Roxas, one of the presidential yachts. The incoming President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, stayed up until 4 am to lend his support for Manila and keep in touch with wavering delegates.”

ADB and the Philippines: At the May 2023 reception, Asakawa talked about how the ADB has been “a steadfast development partner of the Philippines,” citing the bank’s assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing financing to the Philippines between 2018 and 2022, and helping the country address climate change. 

Marcos later stated that the Philippines will greatly benefit from the mutually beneficial relationship with the regional bank, especially for the country’s economic and climate initiatives, among others. 

False claims: Rappler has previously fact-checked the YouTube channel that posted the false claim. Some of the fact checks include: 

  1. FACT CHECK: Marcos’ gold account won’t be used to strengthen PH agriculture – Published on March 7, 2023
  2. FACT CHECK: Marcos’ gold account won’t be used for biofertilizer distribution in PH – Published on May 17, 2023
  3. FACT CHECK: Video doesn’t show Marcos has huge amount of gold hidden in Japan – Published on March 4, 2023 

– Katarina Ruflo/

Katarina Ruflo is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

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