Australia increases aid to PHL

May 20, 2013 10:51 pm 

MANILA, May 20 -– Australia is increasing its development assistance to the Philippines with continued focus on education and poverty reduction.

The Australian government will provide Manila P 5.7 billion or AUS1 million in official development assistance for the period 2013-2014, a AUS.3 million or P 494 million increase from last year’s AUS8.7 million or P 5.5 billion.

“Australia remains strongly committed to helping the Philippines to overcome poverty,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said in a statement.

Education will remain the major beneficiary of Australian aid, Tweddell said.

“Australia will support the largest and most significant reform in the Philippines education system in more than 20 years — introduction of a Kindergarten to Year 12 education program, which President Benigno Aquino III recently signed into law,” the envoy said.

Australian assistance, Tweddell said, will train teachers and decision-makers, provide advice on curriculum development and help develop information technology systems.

Australia is the Philippines’ lead bilateral grant donor in basic education, with an annual contribution of over P1.2 billion.

It is also one of the country’s largest bilateral grant aid donors, along with Japan, European Union (EU) and United States (US).

Part of the funding will also go to infrastructure development, including classroom construction, health services and transport – key areas, which the Australian government said, are “critical to fostering sustainable economic growth in the Philippines.”

Other areas of cooperation are on improving local government capacity to deliver basic services; disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation; and improving conditions for peace in Mindanao and security.

The aid program will also have a strong focus on strengthening local governments to help them deliver most basic services to the poor and road infrastructure, Tweddell said.

It also seeks to increase partnerships between government and civil society to support the Philippine government’s thrust for a more transparent and accountable government.

Tweddell said Australia is also assisting the Philippine government in the automation of its public financial management system to improve the efficiency and transparency of public spending. (PNA)



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