MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The World Bank on June 24 approved $70.36 million as part of the first phase of a 15-year "adaptable program loan" for the Philippines designed to improve irrigation service delivery, boost agricultural productivity, improve governance within the irrigation sector and enhance food security in the country. Over the lifespan of the 15-year loan the World Bank expects to provide $290.36 million while the Philippine government will chip in $123.23 million for total financing of $413.59 million. The project "will contribute significantly to the government’s priority objective of increasing agricultural productivity and enhancing food security," Philippine Health Secretary Arthur Yap said. In 2008, Manila was forced to import 2.3 million tonnes of rice, rationing state-subsidized stocks to the poorest neighborhoods.