PH gets US grant for ‘successful’ corruption fight

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PH gets US grant for ‘successful’ corruption fight
The Philippines is eligible for a new 5-year grant, its second one from the US aid agency Millennium Challenge Corporation following a $434-million grant in 2011

MANILA, Philippines – For reforms including “successful” anti-corruption efforts, the Philippines got a new grant from the United States to fund poverty alleviation programs.

The US foreign aid agency Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) declared on Thursday, December 11, the eligibility of the Philippines for a new 5-year grant called “compact,” its second one following a $434-million grant in 2011.

“The selection of the Philippines for a subsequent compact recognizes the significant progress achieved under the current compact and its strong efforts at policy reform, including successful efforts to root out corruption,” MCC said in a statement.

The United States Congress created MCC in 2004 to help fight global poverty. It awards grants to countries that “demonstrate a commitment to just and democratic governance, investments in its people, and economic freedom as measured by different policy indicators.”

The US Secretary of State, the US Secretary of the Treasury, the US Trade Representative, and the USAID administrator serve on MCC’s board along with 4 private sector representatives.

The Philippines and MCC signed the first compact in 2010 to modernize the Bureau of Internal Revenue, expand the social welfare department’s Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services-National Community-Driven Development Program (Kalahi-CIDSS), and to repair a secondary national road in Samar. 

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr said the second grant will help sustain the government’s reform programs.

“The selection of the Philippines for a second compact is a recognition of President [Benigno] Aquino’s commitment to good governance. I believe a smooth transition to a second compact will help the Philippines in further institutionalizing good governance policies and reforms,” Cuisia said.

Cuisia said he told Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima that the MCC board recommended the start of discussions for the second compact. MCC said Manila is set to complete the first compact by May 2016.

The ambassador added that the Philippines’ selection for the second compact came after the release of the latest MCC scorecard. The Philippines passed 13 out of the 20 indicators, including the “must-pass” Control of Corruption, as well as Immunization Rates, Land Rights Access, and Rule of Law. 

Cuisia noted that the Philippines scored a “big improvement” in the Control of Corruption and Rule of Law, based on the World Governance Indicators (WGI). 

“I am gratified that these have resulted in the Philippines’ positive MCC scorecard in Fiscal Year 2015,” Cuisia said. “I echo our economic managers’ sentiments that this indeed will heighten the confidence level in the Philippines and complement the gains in the economic front.”

The Philippines was not the only country to get a new grant. MCC announced that Nepal, Mongolia, Benin, Lesotho, Liberia, Morocco, Niger, and Tanzania were eligible for compacts. Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Guatemala got smaller grants called “threshold programs.” – 

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