MANILA, Philippines - The Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC) of the United States has noted the country’s progress in mobilizing the $434-million grant aimed at reducing poverty in the Philippines.
Signed in September last year in New York and witnessed by President Aquino and US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the grant demonstrates the Philippine and US government’s joint commitment to fighting poverty in the Philippines.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the compact grant is completely aligned with the development agenda of the Aquino Administration to reduce poverty through sustainable economic growth and good governance.
“I am pleased all project preparation activities are on track and I look forward to seeing the momentum maintained in order to deliver results the Filipino people deserve,” Purisima said.
MCC’s resident country director Matthew Bohn also noted the progress made. “I am confident that Millennium Challenge Account-Philippines (MCA-P) will achieve the compact’s objectives and desired results under the watchful eye of such a capable board,” Bohn said.
The MCA-P Board of Trustees is composed of members from different government agencies and non-government organizations. MCA-P acts as the entity responsible for overseeing the implementation of the MCC compact grant. The compact supports the priorities of the Philippine government to reduce poverty by promoting sustainable economic growth.
These include the Revenue Administration Reform Project (RARP), under the auspices of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS).
The project aims to raise tax revenues and reduce tax evasion and corruption through reforms at BIR and modernization of the revenue collection system.
Another project is the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan- Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS), implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
This project aims to improve community-level infrastructure and social services for the poor and strengthen the capacity of local communities to lift themselves out of poverty.
The Secondary National Roads Development Project (SNRDP), meanwhile, is a project in partnership with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
It aims to reduce transportation costs and improve access to markets and social services through the rehabilitation of an existing 220-kilometer road segment on Samar Island.
Purisima assured that projects under the compact grant will be implemented with transparency and accountability by following strict guidelines for financial management, procurement, and environmental and social impact assessment.
The MCC is a US government corporation designed to work with developing countries and is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces sound political, economic, and social policies that promote poverty reduction through economic growth.