Today is: Fri, May 24, 2013
P2.75 B in US aid to Philippines released, says embassy
MANILA, Philippines—The United States has approved the release of $65 million (about P2.75 billion) in fresh official development assistance to the Philippines in line with the two countries’ five-year “Partnership for Growth,” or PFG program, according to the US Embassy in Manila.
In a statement posted on its website, the embassy said the funds will go to priority projects of the Aquino administration, including its Improved Family Health and Mindanao Peace and Development programs.
Under the PFG, Washington will “support priorities outlined by President Benigno Aquino in his Social Contract with the Filipino people and the Philippine Development Plan to achieve accelerated, sustained and inclusive growth,” it said.
The mission quoted Gloria Steele, head of the US Agency for International Development mission in the country, as having said the PFG “will be carried out in the spirit of mutual responsibility embracing commitments by the Philippine and the US governments to take the necessary actions to promote inclusive growth.”
On May 5, Steele joined visiting USAID deputy administrator Donald Steinberg in signing three PFG-related agreements with Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Health Secretary Enrique Ona and Mindanao Development Authority chair Luwalhati Antonino.
“These agreements will support the implementation of programs that provide inclusive growth under the PFG, enhance the delivery of health services in support of the Philippines’ universal health care initiative and improve local governance and stimulate community-driven development in Mindanao,” Steinberg said.
The US Department of State has referred to the PFG as a “signature inter-agency effort of President Barack Obama’s presidential policy directive on global development, which elevates economic growth in countries committed to good governance as a core priority for US development efforts.”
“The PFG aligns with policy reform areas outlined by President Aquino in the Philippine Development Plan,” it noted.
The PFG “aims to address the most significant constraints to growth and to stimulate enhanced, inclusive economic expansion,” the State Department added. “A rigorous point analysis identified governance and fiscal space as the top constraints to growth in the Philippines.”
Manila and Washington “have affirmed a five-year Joint Country Action Plan that prioritizes creating a more transparent, predictable and consistent legal and regulatory regime; fostering a more open and competitive business environment; strengthening the rule of law and increase efficiency in the court system; and supporting fiscal stability through better revenue and expenditure management.”
The PFG “will also support the Philippine government’s efforts to boost investment in priority sectors, such as tourism, infrastructure and energy; increase tax revenues to support additional spending for essential social services such as health and education; and accelerate export growth by making the Philippines more competitive in the world market,” the State Department added.