MANILA (via PhilAmPress) — A United States aid agency has unanimously re-selected the Philippines to receive a second grant in recognition of the country’s continuing efforts to improve its policies on good governance.
The formal re-selection of the Philippines by the Millennium Challenge Corporation on Dec. 16 will succeed the first grant or compact of $434 million which will expire at the end of May 2016.
“The re-selection of the Philippines for a second compact is a recognition of President Aquino’s firm and continuing commitment to good governance,” Philippine Ambassador to Washington Jose Cuisia said in a statement.
MCC is an independent American aid agency created by the US Congress in 2004 that supports developing countries address human rights, poverty and corruption through good governance.
Approved in 2010, the first grant provided the Philippines with $262 million for the Secondary National Roads Development Project to improve access to markets and services for farmers, fishermen and small businessmen; $120 million for poverty reducing activities; and $54.3 million for the computerization and streamlining of business processes of the Bureau of Internal Revenue to bolster tax collection and reduce corruption under the Revenue Administration Reform Project.
Cuisia said Manila’s re-selection came after the recent release of the latest MCC scorecard where the country passed 12 out of 20 indicators such as Trade Policy, Land Rights Access, Rule of Law and the “must-pass” indicators of Control of Corruption and Democratic Rights, both of which are considered “hard hurdles.”
“This is a strong vote of confidence by the MCC Board that will have important implications for maintaining investors’ confidence in the Philippine economy and will complement the great strides we have made in the economic front,” he added.
“I expect that the reforms and good governance that the Philippines has embraced under President Aquino will be sustainable even after June 30, 2016 because these have been institutionalized and the Filipino people will continue to be vigilant.”
Cuisia said a Philippine Core Team is currently developing proposals on possible investment areas that will be sent to the MCC for approval.
Projects are expected to focus on “constraints” that have so far been identified by the MCC, particularly on government coordination and implementation capacity, high costs of transport logistics, cost of electricity, and land and market failures. Cuisia said he hopes all project proposals could be finalized before a new government is inaugurated in June 2016, the time when President Aquino ends his six-year presidency.