MANILA — The Philippines is supporting the U.S. nominee to the World Bank (WB) presidency, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said.

In a letter to U.S. Ambassador Harry Thomas, Jr., Purisima said the Philippines is backing the nomination of Dartmouth College President Dr. Jim Yong Kim for the multilateral lender’s top position.

“Mr. Kim, a development expert, has the track record to lead the agency at this time when global growth and development have become tough tasks for governments around the world,” Purisima said.

WB president Robert Zoellick is stepping down by June 30.

The multilateral agency is set to select its new leader.

Other nominees to the top post are Former Colombian Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo and Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala.

Purisima said the United States can be assured of the Philippines’ support.

The finance chief said Kim’s track record of working with the World Health Organization (WHO) can be a “new focus” for the WB.

“One that connects financial and economic stability to a direct and sustainable prosperity not only to nations but more importantly to people,” he said in his letter.

Kim, a Korean, served as a former director of WHO’s Department of HIV/AIDS who led a program to treat three million people infected by the virus in the developing countries from 2003 to 2007.

Purisima said Kim’s expertise in the area of health would be very important for the WB.

“As we move toward the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, Kim’s expertise in anthropology and development will surely be an asset to the World Bank,” Purisima said.

He said the Philippines looks forward to working with Kim on the global issues of poverty and development.

At the same time, Purisma pushed for a transparency and democratic selection process of the WB president.

“We are eager to work with him in further democratizing and improving the transparency of processes within the Bank,” he said.

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