By Kris M. Crismundo
MANILA, Jan. 13 (PNA) — The drive towards good governance of the Aquino administration has influenced the European Union (EU) to increase its development assistance to the Philippines, said Head of EU Delegation to the Philippines Ambassador Guy Ledoux on Tuesday.
“The fact that governance had improved in the current administration, in that sense, we feel that EU aid to the Philippines will help more impact in the context of the administration that had the policy of improving governance,” Ledoux said during the signing of Multi-Annual Indicative Programme (MIP) with National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Deputy Director General Roland G. Tungpalan held at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel.
Under the MIP, the EU is providing 325 million euros or Php17 billion worth of assistance to fund cooperation activities in the Philippines for 2014-2020.
The EU grant assistance to the country increased by more than double or by 143 percent from 130 million euros or Php7 billion in 2007 to 2013.
Ledoux mentioned that the fund will be allocated to two focus areas — the rule of law and energy sector — which will further support the development of the country’s economy.
For the first focus, the EU will be working closely with the Supreme Court to ensure implementation of comprehensive justice reforms in the future.
The projects for energy, on the other hand, aim for rural electrification wherein more than 500,000 Filipinos will gain access to sustainable electricity which will include renewable energy.
The EU envoy also noted that a big portion of the EU assistance will be allotted to Mindanao to create livelihood, promote public health, and peace building in the region.
Meanwhile, NEDA’s Tungpalan said the increased assistance of EU to the Philippines reflects the strong partnership of the country and the European bloc in pursuing to create better lives for Filipinos.
“The increase in EU assistance to the Philippines to 325 million euros from 130 million euros for the next six years is also highly reflective of EU’s continued commitment to support the Philippine government’s efforts to significantly reduce poverty mainly through massive generation of quality employment; sustain the gains from governance reform; and to lay the groundwork for a more significant reduction of poverty,” Tungpalan said.
He noted that the Php17-billion EU assistance will go through investment coordination process in which NEDA will certify specific projects where the aid will be distributed.
In EU’s previous assistance, its aid supported activities in of health, Trade-Related Technical Assistance (TRTA), good governance, and supporting to the peace process in Mindanao.
“The use of ODA (official development assistance) now is more on building capacity; very selective technical assistance as well as dwelling into transformational areas like rule of law and accessible energy and the likes. While the total ODA is shrinking, the use of ODA must be more strategic,” the NEDA official noted. (PNA)