World Bank hails Phl’s vax program

The World Bank Group has paid tribute to the Philippines’ vaccination program against Covid-19, saying it was instrumental in expanding access to vaccines to all Filipinos.

In a letter dated 22 August, World Bank President David Malpass hailed former Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez’s leadership in developing a national vaccine program during the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

Malpass cited the strong partnership between the WBG and the Duterte administration that extended to other government priority initiatives.

“The expansion of safety nets via the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program for underprivileged Filipinos; the reform programs in the fiscal, financial, and business sectors; increased investments in agriculture and infrastructure development as well as in disaster risk management; improvement of state transparency and accountability; and the continued pursuit of peace and development in Mindanao,” the World Bank chief added.

He cited Dominguez’s central role behind the US-based institution’s greater involvement in major government programs.

“Please accept my sincere appreciation on behalf of the WBG for your personal commitment and contributions towards the continued partnership, which led to significant achievements during your tenure as Secretary of Finance,” Malpass said in his letter.

Malpass said he’s looking forward to “a continued strong partnership with the new Administration,” and with Dominguez’s successor, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

In February 2019, Dominguez was the first top official from a developing economy to express support for Malpass who was nominated by then US President Donald Trump as WBG president. At that time, Malpass was the US Treasury undersecretary for internal affairs.

A former governor for the Philippines in the WBG board, Dominguez said then that Malpass’ assumption of the premier post in the multilateral development bank was “fitting and appropriate” at a time when a “reinvention” of MDBs.

Even before the Covid-19 outbreak became a pandemic two years ago, Dominguez formally called on the WBG along with other MDBs — Asian Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to closely coordinate their development efforts to more efficiently and effectively deliver official development assistance and aid to countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

“I would also like to point out that the trilateral cooperation among the three multilateral banks in support of the Philippines’ vaccination program is a first in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region,” Dominguez said.

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