TACLOBAN CITY- World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim announced on Monday of a $508.25 million loan extended to the Philippines, of which more than $60 million would be intended to help the rehabilitation effort of the government to areas hit by Supertyphoon Yolanda.

Kim, who visited the towns of Palo and Tanauan, both in Leyte on Monday, said that the huge loan is a testament of the WBG’s commitment on the reconstruction effort of the Philippine government still reeling from the aftermath of Yolanda.

He said that the $508.25 million loan is part of the country’s three year plan of the Philippine Rural Development Project, which is largely to be undertaken through the Department of Agriculture.

The proposed $508.25 million will be submitted to the WBG’s board of executive directors for approval and is expected to be release by next year the start implementation of the project.

“I’m here to express our support for and solidarity with the government of the Philippines and especially the people of the Philippines,” Kim said during a press conference held at the municipal hall of Tanauan, one of the hard-hit areas of Yolanda.

“I came here to make an announcement that next month, we’ll bring in $508.25 million in Philippine Rural Development Project to our board for approval; some $62 million of that project will be targeted specifically affected by the typhoon,” the WBG president said.

He said that the $62 million will be used to construct 230 kilometers of farm-to-market-roads in areas hit by Yolanda.

Kim said that with the construction of these farm-to-market roads financed under this loan will help “boost the incomes and productivity of farmers and fishermen.”

Earlier, the World Bank had announced nearly $1 billion in financial assistance in the immediate aftermath of Yolanda.

During his one-day visit to Leyte, Kim visited a demo farm located in Barangay Anahaway, a farming village in Palo.

The five-hectare demo farm is undertaken by the Korean government wherein vegetables were planted by 95 women who were enlisted under the government’s condition cash transfer program or 4Ps(Pamilyang Pilipino Pantawid Program).

He also visited a resettlement site in Barangay Pago, Tanauan, a 2.4 has lot wherein 381 houses are to be built intended for families who totally lost their homes during Yolanda. At present, 127 families are occupying the houses built by Gawad Kalinga. (JOEY A. GABIETA)