AUSTRALIA INCREASES OFFICIAL DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE TO THE PHILIPPINES
Australia’s official development assistance to the Philippines will increase to approximately A$123 million in fiscal year 2009-10, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Rod Smith, has announced.
“Australian aid to the Philippines will increase by about 12 per cent over the previous year’s assistance of A$109 million,” Ambassador Smith said.
Australia will continue to be one of the three largest grant aid donors to the Philippines. Australia’s aid has grown significantly in the last five years with more than Php16 billion invested in development cooperation programs over this period.
Managed by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Australia’s aid program in the Philippines is focused on three areas: supporting economic growth; strengthening basic education; and contributing to national stability and human security.
“Australia will work with the Philippine Government to ensure that more children are educated, that the poor have access to health services, farmers and traders can use serviceable roads, and budgets are used in a transparent and effective way,” Ambassador Smith said.
“In 2009-10 Australia, in partnership with at least 10 provincial governments, will start implementing the five-year, Php 3.8 billion Provincial Road Management Facility that will rehabilitate more than 1,000 kilometres of roads in southern Philippines. The Facility will also help strengthen the capacity of provincial governments to effectively manage their infrastructure assets. With better roads, people will have improved access to income-generating activities, jobs, and basic services in rural and regional areas.”
“Australia also remains committed to assist the Philippines to achieve its Millennium Development Goal target for universal primary education. With an investment of over Php 1.4 billion each year to support the Philippine Government’s basic education reform agenda, Australian aid will continue to help keep more Filipino children in school, build new classrooms, train teachers and strengthen education planning and financial and human resource management systems.”
Australia’s support to the basic education reform agenda has contributed significantly to developing new approaches in delivering basic education, in particular school-based management which places decision making power in the hands of schools, teachers and parents to improve the quality of education. School-based management has now been adopted nationally.
“Australian support will continue to increase access to quality education of Filipino girls and boys, including those with disabilities, Muslim and indigenous children and children in disadvantaged and conflict-affected areas,” Ambassador Smith said.
“Australia will also maintain its support for peace building and post-conflict recovery programs, improving health service delivery and reducing maternal mortality, and strengthening disaster preparedness and response capability. Australian aid has helped to build constituencies for peace and essential infrastructure in Mindanao, enabled pregnant women to access skilled birth attendants, reduced deaths and the number of sick from malaria, and developed hazard risk maps for disaster-prone areas.”
“The global economic crisis is impacting on many countries in the region. The Australian Government has increased aid globally to support employment generation, protect vulnerable populations and maintain essential health and education services during these difficult times. Australia’s aid program will help lay the foundations for recovery and future prosperity in the Asia-Pacific, including in the Philippines.”