US aid agency picks PH for second grant
MANILA, Philippines – The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board of Directors unanimously re-selected the Philippines on December 16 for a second compact to help the country fight poverty, the Philippine embassy in Washington, DC, announced on Friday, December 18.
The second compact will succeed the first, which expires in May 2016 and provided the Philippine government $436.3 million for infrastructure, streamlining of processes at the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and livelihood projects.
“The re-selection of the Philippines for a second compact is a recognition of President Aquino’s firm and continuing commitment to good governance,” Ambassador Jose Cuisia said in a statement.
It was in December 2014 when the MCC declared the country eligible for a second grant following what it described as the government's successful anti-corruption campaign.
The United States Congress created MCC in 2004 to help fight global poverty. It awards grants to countries that “demonstrate a commitment to just and democratic governance, investments in its people, and economic freedom as measured by different policy indicators.”
The US Secretary of State, the US Secretary of the Treasury, the US Trade Representative, and the USAID administrator serve on MCC’s board along with 4 private sector representatives.
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, including 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. “And 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.”
The Philippines and MCC signed the first compact in 2010 to modernize the Bureau of Internal Revenue, expand the social welfare department’s Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services-National Community-Driven Development Program (Kalahi-CIDSS), and to repair a secondary national road in Samar. – Rappler.com