Saturday, February 9, 2013

European Assistance to the Philippines

The European Union on Wednesday assured the Philippines of continued assistance despite the financial crunch in Europe, especially on health reforms and poverty reduction in Mindanao.

"The situation on Europe has not affected the level of EU assistance worldwide or in the Philippines," said EU Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux.

However, he said the EU will be focusing more attention on priority projects to ensure maximum impact of its assistance.

He said the EU is in the process of modernizing its cooperation with recipient states, concentrating on "higher impact" projects.

In the Philippines, the EU is already using modern cooperation tools like budget support; and will explore new tools like combining grants with loans to increase their impact, Ledoux said.

For this year, the bloc is providing at least P2 billion worth of development aid to support the Philippine government's health programs and alleviate poverty Mindanao.

Mindanao, Ledoux said, is in need of immediate assistance especially during the crucial transition phase following the signing of the framework agreement, which serves as a blueprint for a final peace accord seen to end decades of Muslim rebellion in the region.

Part of the EU's assistance to the Philippines would also support reforms in the government for the promotion of good governance and transparency, government officials said.

In 2011, EU aid to the Philippines had reached € 110 million or about P5.9 billion. Ninety percent of this amount is in the form of direct grants rather than loans.

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