USAID grants $73M for RP's environment, energy projects

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 14 2009 12:37 PM | Updated as of Feb 14 2009 09:21 PM

The United States has pledged $73-million in grants to support the country's environment and energy programs, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said Friday.

The multi-million dollar aid for the country’s environment and energy programs was affirmed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through a bilateral agreement recently signed by its director, Jon Lindborg and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto.

NEDA said in a statement that it will help mobilize funds and resources in addition to the $73 million contributed by the US agency. The two countries have earlier signed an assistance agreement for the program in September 2008.

“Through the partnership, we shall be able to strengthen the management of our natural resources down to the local level through ways and methods that are appropriate, effective and innovative,” Recto said, adding that efforts of central and local government agencies will be supported to manage resources in a sustainable manner.

Recto said one of the community-based programs under the partnership is the Alliance for Mindanao Off-Grid Renewable Energy, which, he said aims to bring development to the poorest provinces in Mindanao.

He said the project will "improve the business climate in the region, make its economic growth more equitable, and promote the use of environmentally friendly renewable energy systems in the region."

Recto said the Alliance for Mindanao Off-Grid Renewable Energy program has been providing renewable sources of energy in Mindanao since 2002, developing a sustainable approach to rural electrification that is "hinged on organizing communities for self-propelled development."

For 2009, Recto said the NEDA is looking forward to a new renewable energy contract, a new rural electrification grant, and two new biodiversity conservation grants, and the implementation of solid waste management programs by additional 18 local governments, which diverted 25 percent of wastes from disposal to recycling and composting.

Meanwhile, NEDA said the Development Bank of the Philippines has also launched the Philippine Water Revolving Fund, a lending program with a co-financing arrangement, leveraging official development assistance funds with private resources.

On the other hand, solar and microhydro renewable energy systems were installed in more than 200 villages in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, NEDA said.