RP moves to secure grant from MCC

Published by rudy Date posted on January 6, 2009

IN AN effort to secure a grant from Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the Philippines has fine-tuned six compact proposals for submission to the MCC Transaction Team prior to the MCC peer review process.

The Millennium Challenge is a United States government corpora­tion that works with some of the poorest countries in the world to reduce global poverty by promoting sustainable economic growth,

The Department of Foreign Affairs reported that the Philippines submitted the proposals after the MCA-Philippines (MCAP), led by Department of Finance and Secretary Dante Canlas of the Point of Contact (POC), held technical discussions with the MCC Transaction Team from December 1 to 5 last year.

The MCC Transaction Team, however, requested for additional details and as such, the revitalized proposals would be resubmitted on January 31.

The proposals include fiscal revenue enhancement and social safety net programs, community and road infrastructure, coastal surveillance for fishing and agricultural access to water.

“The Philippines was able to correct certain misperceptions, reinforce understanding of the reality on the ground, and highlight the resolve and actions we have taken to fight corruption and to improve gover­nance,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said in a statement.

“We have also made progress in developing our Compact pro­posals,” he added.

It was earlier reported that the Washington-based MCC has sus­pended its aid for the Philippines because the country still needs to initiate more measures to fight corruption.

As a result, the MCC Board decided to sign a Compact Agree­ment with the Philippines once the country passes the indicator criteria on corruption.

“We take this as an affirmation of their confidence in our efforts to prevail. We also see this as a welcome challenge, in the context of the overall challenges we face in winning a final victory against corruption,” Romulo, a former executive secretary, said.

Romulo reiterated that out of 17 policy indicators that the MCC maintains, the Philippines scored above the median in 14 indicators, saying that the country just missed the control of corruption indicator by 0.01 below the median.

“This was largely due to a change in the methodology used, which failed to take into account recent efforts of the Philippine government to fight corruption,” Romulo noted. “We have also enhanced our efforts to improve the public health expenditure indicators. The median score was moved up from that used a year ago.”

The MCC criteria includes in­vesting in people, massively reducing corruption and spread­ing economic freedom and per­for­mances in civil liberties, po­litical rights, voice and accounta­bility, government effectiveness, rule of law, public health expenditure immunization rates, girls’ primary education completion rate, public expenditure on primary education, inflation, business start up, trade policy, regulatory quality, fiscal policy, natural resource management and land rights and access.

Romulo said the Philippine government had shrugged off fears of losing the country’s eligibility for the MCC grant [as] “the Philippines will submit its anticorruption programs satisfying the Mac’s anti-corruption standards.”

 “We are very grateful to the MCC Board, led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and to the officers and staff of the MCC, for recognizing the commitment and determination of the Philippine government to vigorously imple­ment good gover­nance and to aggressively fighting corruption,” Romulo said. –Llanesca T. Panti, Reporter, Manila Times

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