Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR140702 - Australia works with the Philippines to help reduce poverty

Australia works with the Philippines to help reduce poverty
2 July 2014

The Australian Government is increasing its support to the Philippine Government to ensure that poor Filipinos can access essential social services.

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)’s Deputy Secretary Ewen McDonald, who is visiting the Philippines this week, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)’s Secretary Corazon ‘Dinky’ Juliano–Soliman today launched Australia’s support for improving access of poor municipalities to early learning and education through community-led approach by providing Php487 million (A$12.2 million) to the Philippines National Community Driven Development Program (NCDDP).

The Australian contribution will finance the construction of 468 classrooms and day care centres in 177 poor municipalities, 25 percent of which will be in areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

“Australia acknowledges DSWD’s strong leadership in implementing one of President Aquino’s priority poverty reduction programs. We are committed to our partnership with DSWD because Australia recognises the program’s potential to effectively alleviate poverty,” Deputy Secretary McDonald said.

“The Program is a critical mechanism that enables poor communities to access essential services such as education and health. At the same time, we recognise the considerable challenges that remain in scaling-up the program to cover 854 municipalities over five years.”

This is part of Australia’s larger program of support over the next two years to assist DSWD to implement the Government’s social protection reform agenda and poverty reduction programs.

Since 2008, Australia has worked with DSWD to provide technical assistance to improve its social protection programs, most notably its Conditional Cash Transfer program and recently, the preparation of the National Community Driven Development program.

Australia has also provided Php400 million (A$10 million) in 2012 for the construction of a further 626 day care centres and classrooms in Pantawid Pamilya Program communities through the KALAHI-CIDSS project. The support is in response to the increased demand for educational services in areas where the Pantawid Pamilya Program is being implemented.

Australia is also helping to improve DSWD’s institutional capacity to meet the demands of rapidly expanding programs by supporting human resource development and management, and strengthening DSWD’s financial systems.

Australia is a long-standing development partner of the Philippines and one of the country’s largest bilateral grant aid donors. This year, the Australian Government will provide an estimated Php4.5 billion (A$111.7 million) in bilateral development assistance to the Philippines focusing on economic growth, basic education, and disaster risk reduction.