AUSTRALIA-PHILIPPINES DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION PROGRAM GROWS TO P3.96 BILLION FOR 07-08
The Australian Government has announced a significant increase in its official development assistance (ODA), all in the form of grant aid, to the Philippines to Php 3.96 billion (A$100.6 million) for fiscal year 2007-2008. This compares to Php 2.7 billion (A$70 million) for 2006-2007.
Managed by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), Australian aid to the Philippines in the last decade alone has totalled almost A$ 570 million. The 2007-2008 aid budget increases Australia’s assistance to the Philippines to about A$ 670 million, making Australia among the country’s top
four bilateral grant aid donors.
“Australia has been supporting the Philippines’ efforts to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development since the 1950s. The increase in the Philippines-Australia Development Cooperation Program reaffirms the commitment of Australia to intensify this support. The increase is also in line with the Australian Government’s White Paper on Australian Aid and intention to doubling its global aid program by 2010 to about $4 billion per annum,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Tony Hely said.
Under a new country program strategy, Australian support to the Philippines in 2007-2008 will continue assisting the government in improving prospects for economic growth, basic education and reforms, poverty reduction and national stability in the Philippines.
“Significant poverty reduction can result through sustained and improved economic growth,” Sam Zappia, Counsellor for Development Cooperation at the Australian Embassy and Head of AusAID in the Philippines, stressed. “The Australian aid program is well placed and continues to assist the Philippines in strengthening its economic management and improve its investment climate, so strong economic growth can be sustained.”
“The aid program will likewise focus on encouraging private sector investment including increased support for infrastructure and anti-corruption measures. These measures, if implemented with an enhanced measure of accountability by the government, will translate to improved economic opportunities for the people, especially in the rural areas,” he added.
Australia is also recognized as the lead bilateral donor in education whose assistance to basic education is the largest in Mindanao and is now expanding in the Visayas. A high priority of the Australian Government’s aid to the Philippines, education initiatives will be increased in the next two to three years to support the national education system’s reform agenda.
Moreover, the aid program will continue to support peace-building in Mindanao by encouraging broad community participation in formal peace processes and better health, education and economic opportunities for conflict-affected populations.
The Australian Government’s 2007-08 global aid budget of A$ 3.2 billion is its largest ever investment in reducing poverty in the Asia-Pacific region. For further information, please see www.ausaid.gov.au.