US signs P10.5B PH aid to boost economic growth

US Embassy Manila | Philstar File Photo

A new five-year bilateral assistance agreement amounting to P10.5 billion ($213 million) has been signed by the United States and the Philippines to boost the country’s economic development and growth.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Philippine Department of Finance (DOF) signed the agreement to deepen their commitment to accelerate inclusive, broad-based economic growth through policies that increase investment and trade throughout the Philippines.

“This new USAID and Department of Finance bilateral agreement will expand our support to help the Philippines achieve long-term, private sector-led economic growth and strengthen economic governance. These programs will create jobs and help ensure more inclusive, broad-based economic development,” said USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II.

New programs and activities will promote inclusive, market-driven growth; improve the business environment; expand economic opportunities through private-sector led innovation for medium and small businesses; and increase information and communications technology access for the digital economy that benefits both producers and consumers, according to the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

“Activities also include strengthening local civil society organizations to advance locally-led programming and policy-making in the Philippines and facilitating coalitions and partnerships between government and other stakeholders toward data-driven decision-making,” the embassy said.

“Additionally, USAID will continue to support Philippine government objectives by improving public sector transparency and accountability; advancing the rule of law and the justice system; and boosting local governments’ responsiveness to Filipinos’ needs,” it added.

This bilateral agreement with the DOF is one of the four new USAID programs with the Philippines launching in 2020, with an anticipated total value of P32.7 billion ($675 million) over five years.

The other new agreements include:

• Department of Health: To improve underserved Filipinos’ health by strengthening health systems while improving the quality of health services, especially in treating tuberculosis, providing access to those who seek family planning services, and community-based drug dependence treatment;

• National Economic Development Authority: To protect ecosystems by promoting sustainable use of natural resources, enhance energy security, and build capacity to mitigate risks and respond to natural disasters; and

• Department of Education: To improve early grade reading, expand science and mathematics curricula, and increase out-of-school youths’ access to education, professional, and technical skills development that will lead to new job opportunities, and strengthen education governance.

The U.S. has provided the Philippines nearly P228.8 billion ($4.5 billion) in total assistance over the past 20 years to advance the country’s development goals. (AJPress)

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