THE Asian Development Bank's 53 member countries - including the US and Japan - are being urged to double their total contribution of US$23.42 billion. ADB president Kimimasa Tarumizu told the packed auditorium of the Philippines International Convention Centre: ''The bank will continue to provide critical support to developing member countries in their quest for economic growth. ''This is a decade of challenge and opportunity for our member countries,'' he said. The ADB also aims to raise about $14 billion in international financial markets during the next four years to finance the loans from its ordinary capital resources. Funds will help nations such as the Philippines bridge infrastructural gaps left in the wake of a natural and man-made disasters and generations of official neglect. Philippines President Fidel Ramos earlier told the 26th annual meeting that special efforts were being taken to tackle the country's energy crisis. Analysts expect this year's first quarter results of most leading Philippines businesses to be disappointing following daily power cuts of five to 10 hours which have crippled growth. Despite this, dozens of rowdy villagers lobbied world finance leaders as they arrived at the opening ceremony, protesting at the proposed construction of a $750 million, 600 megawatt thermal power plant in Masinloc using $200 million in co-financing loans from the ADB. The coal-fired power station would help relieve the energy crisis, but local villagers fear a repetition of the serious environmental damage from the building of the Calaca power station 200 kilometres away in Batangus. Cheap locally produced coal with high sulphur content had been initially used. This not only produced a high volume of sulphuric ash which killed marine life, but self-ignited when stock-piled. Higher quality imported coal is now used at Calaca and villagers have been assured that this will also be used in Masinloc. The ADB supports power generation by coal which it says is Asia's dominant fuel and believes Asian reserves can last another 500 to 800 years, whereas gas supplies should run out in 50 to 60 years and oil in up to 20 years. Mr Ramos had called on the ADB to support increased national, regional and global concerns for the protection of the environment under the principles of sustainable growth.