Australia and the Philippines have a longstanding development partnership spanning more than 50 years. It is one of our largest, with Australian assistance to the Philippines reaching almost PHP 3 billion (AUD 77.4 million) in 2021-2022.
Australia supports a sovereign, stable and resilient Philippines that returns quickly to economic growth post-COVID-19. We deliver our programs at national and community levels, working with the Philippine Government, local partners, business, multilateral agencies, research organisations and civil society, with a focus on policy reform and building capacities.
Australia is working with the Philippines in increasing its capacity to respond to health needs that have arisen from and been exacerbated by COVID-19. Through our partner humanitarian and multilateral organisations, we have delivered critical equipment and services, and supported Philippine agencies address constraints and improve their systems.
We have increased the capacity of COVID-19 testing in the Philippines by donating new laboratories, sourcing masks, and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to health workers; establishing community health centres in Mindanao; and providing reproductive health services, supplies and information to women and girls. Australia has also supported equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines through vaccine procurement, vaccine delivery support and provision of health advice. Additionally, mental health and psychosocial support services were also provided to help Filipinos deals with the impacts of the pandemic.
Australia supports the Philippines in fostering inclusive and cohesive communities and mitigating threats to regional security. Our peacebuilding efforts in Mindanao, home to some the country’s poorest and most vulnerable communities, contribute to stability.
During COVID-19, we helped ensure learning continuity for students to avoid an increase in school dropout rates, which would have long-term economic and social implications. We assisted with distance learning by training teachers to deliver classes remotely, including tailored support for learners with disabilities. We also trained parents and children on the increased risks of online child sexual exploitation and abuse, given the challenges during the pandemic.
Australia has also provided emergency relief and recovery assistance to almost 300,000 people in 2021, following the onslaught of typhoons Vamco, Goni and Rai, and also those that were affected by the Marawi conflict that occurred in 2017. Improvement and enhancements to cash assistance services in the region became a focus of support for Australia after those disasters.
Through Australia's governance programs, we are developing a network of civil society organisations, national and local government leaders, and other stakeholders to help the Philippine Government make timely COVID-19 related decisions and develop healthcare and economic policies.
To support the Philippines’ economic recovery program, Australia is working innovatively with key partners to strengthen policies and institutions and advance inclusive economic growth. We also work with local governments and women-led small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to increase their preparedness for and resilience to economic shocks, including impacts from climate change.
To manage the challenges of technological disruption, we help identify skills to help workers who are most at risk of being displaced by automation, as well as reskill and upskill workers to boost labour competitiveness and kick-start the economy.
Australian development efforts in the Philippines are currently set out in The Philippines COVID-19 Development Response Plan.
Partnerships for Recovery: Australia’s COVID-19 Development Response (dfat.gov.au)
Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
Mateship and Bayanihan – Philippines Australia Mateship and Bayanihan into the Future