Canada names PH as a 'Country of Focus'
MANILA, Philippines – Canada announced that it has designated the Philippines as a "Country of Focus," becoming a priority recipient of development assistance from the North American country.
The Philippines joins 20 other nations that receive the bulk of Canada's bilateral resources under its international development assistance program.
The Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) welcomed the designation on Saturday, June 28, saying that the move "further illuminates the excellent bilateral relations between the Philippines and Canada."
"The special designation as a Country of Focus also holds the promise of greater two-way bilateral trade and investment flows, and the designation also manifests an alignment in foreign policy, extending to various security, economic, socio-cultural and people-to-people interests," the DFA said in a statement.
The DFA cited Canada's assistance in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename Haiyan) as well as its key role in the Mindanao peace process. (READ: Canada aids PH Yolanda recovery through ChildFund)
"The Filipino people will always remember how Canada came swiftly to the aid of those affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, and how the federal government facilitated a special typhoon matching fund that has grown to over CAD 170 million (nearly P7 billion or US$160 million)," added DFA.
Malacañang also thanked Canada for the designation.
In an interview with state-run Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said that the international community continues to grant foreign aid to the Philippines because of the accountability and transparency in the use of their assistance.
"Overall, I think the country’s manner of using foreign assistance responsibly and with full accountability is one incentive for foreign countries to provide further assistance to the country," Lacierda said.
Lacierda also noted Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to the Philippines in October 2012, marking the first time in 15 years that a high-ranking Canadian official has visited the country. – Rappler.com