The World Bank Group (WBG) announced Thursday the new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for supporting the Philippines for Fiscal Years 2010-2012.

The World Bank Group will support the Philippines in pursuing macroeconomic stability, an improved investment climate, better public service delivery for the poor, reduced vulnerabilities to income shocks and natural disasters, and better governance, the WBG’ Board of Executive Director said in a statement.

The new CAS will focus on poverty alleviation measures, emerging global challenges in all Bank-supported activities. According to World Bank Country Director Bert Hofman, this strategic focus means the Bank will support reforms, programs and projects that can improve opportunities, especially of the poor to strengthen good health and better education.

This CAS continues the Bank's support for the country's development objectives. We hope to do more for poverty alleviation measures, not only because poverty reduction has been lagging, but also because the poor are most vulnerable to the impact of the global recession, said Mr. Hofman.

The new CAS will integrate the operations of World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing arm of the WBG.

We thank the Bank for its continued support to the country's development objectives and for allowing flexibility under the new CAS, which could help strengthen the country's ability to deal with the current global financial and economic crisis, Finance Secretary MargaritoTeves said.

The World Bank will provide support amounting to $700 million to $1 billion per year for the next three years and the IFC will support programs in the range of $250-$300 million per year. Specific areas of joint IFC and World Bank collaboration are in infrastructure, agribusiness and the financial sector.

Another member of the World Bank Group, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), will provide guarantees to foreign investors against losses caused by non-commercial risks as well as technical assistance to help countries disseminate information on investment opportunities.

The Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Ralph Recto also welcomed the new CAS, saying that the new framework for the World Bank Group's operations in Philippines is broadly aligned with the country's updated Medium Term Philippine Development plan(MTPDP) prepared by the NEDA.

I welcome the Bank's continued support for the Government's MTPDP, to which the CAS is well aligned. The MTPDP also gives priority to protecting the poor through a host of social policy measures including shelter, health insurance, low-cost medicines and cash transfers, said Secretary Recto.