Gov't may submit infra projects, Benham Rise development for MCC funding

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 27 2017 08:24 PM

MANILA - The Philippines plans to submit several projects to the United States government's Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC) for possible funding, one of the country's economic managers said Wednesday.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government is looking at proposing infrastructure projects in remote areas and the development of the resource-rich Benham Rise, officially called Philippine Rise, to the Washington-based poverty reduction agency.

"The major projects we want are the infrastructure. Besides, we already have a new territory which is the Philippine Rise, so we have ports that we can launch our research vessels. So might as well start developing that in places like Quezon," Dominguez said.

The finance chief, however, clarified there are no ongoing negotiations with the MCC.

Earlier this year, the MCC said the Philippines was a "candidate" to secure a fresh grant due to its income level, which falls under the low-income category as classified by the World Bank.

However, the US embassy said in August that being a candidate does not automatically mean that the Philippines is eligible for a grant.

The first MCC grant for the Philippines, amounting to $434 million, came into force in May 2011 and ended in May 2016.

Last December, the MCC said it was deferring a vote on the re-selection of the Philippines "subject to a further review of concerns around rule of law and civil liberties.”

US Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Sung, however, said on Sept. 5 that concern for human rights was not the sole reason that the MCC deferred a vote on the Philippines.