Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III has approved the country's participation in the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), senior government officials said Wednesday.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Aquino gave his go-ahead signal following the recommendation of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima.
In a separate statement, Purisima said the Philippines will be signing the Articles of Agreement (AOA) of the AIIB before year-end.
The government believes that the AIIB will augment and complement existing multilateral institutions in accelerating economic growth, he said.
"Our shared pursuit of growth and development has only become more challenging as the global environment becomes increasingly complex. We thus welcome platforms where countries can work towards shared development goals in the spirit of partnership," Purisima said.
In a globalized world, connectivity is the name of the game. The AIIB is a "promising institution" addressing investment needs, and will help close financing gaps in many countries, he said.
"I also see this as a chance for greater collaboration with member countries, especially with ASEAN, on regional infrastructure goals," he added.
The Asian Development Bank has estimated Philippine infrastructure financing needs from 2010 through 2020 to be at 127.12 billion U.S. dollars, requiring an annual investment of 11.56 billion U.S. dollars.
The total capital stock of the AIIB is 100 billion U.S. dollars, 20 percent of which is paid-in. The indicative paid-in capital of the Philippines is 196 million U.S. dollars (payable in five years or 39 million U.S. dollars per annum).
"The Philippines has taken the matter of our membership in AIIB very seriously," Purisima said, adding, "We are confident that the Bank's organization design and oversight mechanisms are committed to transparency, independence, openness, and accountability."
"We are likewise optimistic that AIIB's decision-making processes are geared towards making it a lean, clean, green institution run like a true multilateral."
Full powers to sign the AOA on behalf of the Philippines were granted by Aquino to Purisima, or in his absence, Philippine Ambassador to the People's Republic of China Erlina F. Basilio.
"The Philippines stands to gain from signing on as a Founding Member. We can look forward to deepening our country's technical expertise in infrastructure as we expand bankable projects.
"Further, as the AIIB has no restriction on the procurement of goods and services from any country, we may foresee market expansion for infrastructure-related industries, widening job and business growth opportunities," Purisima added.
The opening ceremony and inaugural meeting of the Board of Governors and the Board of Directors in Beijing will take place on the third week of January 2016. Members have until December 2016 to complete domestic ratification and other approval processes, as well as to pay the initial tranche of the corresponding paid-in capital.