AUSTRALIA AND THE PHILIPPINES LAUNCH NEW PARTNERSHIP TO STRENGTHEN INSTITUTIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT
Australia and the Philippines today launched a new partnership that aims to build stronger Philippine institutions by assisting Filipinos to pursue and achieve professional excellence.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith (represented by AusAID Minister-Counsellor Titon Mitra), National Economic and Development Authority Director General Cayetano Paderanga Jr, and Civil Service Commission Chairman Dr Francisco Duque III today signed an agreement for the Philippines-Australia Human Resource and Organisation Development Facility.
The Facility, a five-year Php2.7 billion initiative, is the Australian Government’s flagship program to support human resource management, organisational development and institutional change in the Philippines. It can provide a range of support to select Philippine organisations, including Australia Awards (scholarships), customised short-term training programs, and advisory support, where necessary.
“The Facility reflects Australia’s continuing commitment to support development efforts in the Philippines. The Philippines is at an important juncture in history. A new administration has been elected with a strong mandate from the people to pursue bold reforms. Implementing these reforms will require support from all the Filipino people and the brains of the Philippine civil service,” Ambassador Smith said.
Australia will work with a select group of Philippine organisations – public, non-profit, and private – to improve their human resource management, corporate planning, change management and business processes. Improvements in these areas will trigger more efficient delivery of services and improved implementation of development programs. Continued Australian support will be contingent on each organisation demonstrating a strong commitment to pursue reforms and to improve performance.
“Well-targeted support for organisational development can catalyse tangible gains, such as increased local revenues and savings from operational expenses, that improve the efficiency of government and non-government programs,” Ambassador Smith said.
At least 400 scholarship places will be made available for study in Australia in the next five years. For 2011-12, 120 Filipinos are expected to receive scholarships for study in various universities in Australia.
“We have seen the potential of scholarship programs to develop leaders and build stronger institutions that can drive development in the Philippines. Several of our alumni have been publicly recognised in their fields and we are confident that their success is attributable, in part, to their Australian education,” Ambassador Smith said.
“We regard scholarships as an important part of our commitment to Philippine and regional education excellence. Scholarships have been an integral part of Australia’s aid program to the Philippines for 50 years and will continue to be an important part of the relationship between the two countries. We will actively forge closer ties between Australian and Philippine institutions, encouraging them to work together in bringing the research expertise of Philippine institutions to the global stage.”
Australia and the Philippines have a strong relationship, underpinned by over 50 years of partnership in development cooperation. The aid partnership with the Philippines is one of Australia’s largest, with more than Php20 billion in official development assistance over the last five years. Australia’s current annual aid to the Philippines is estimated at almost Php5 billion – placing Australia amongst the top grant donors to the Philippines.