The British government is ready to contribute to the “Yolanda trust fund” that will help gather and mobilize donations from all over the world for the Philippines’ post-calamity rehabilitation and recovery efforts.
The United Kingdom’s (UK) Ambassador to Manila Asif Ahmad said that the British government will not only join in putting up the Multi-Donor Trust Fund, but it will also contribute significantly to it.
The “biggest tranche” of the next funding for post-Yolanda recovery efforts that will be announced in London “in due course will be for this trust fund,” Ahmad added.
The “open-ended” trust fund is a way of ensuring that the contributions of international donors are spent in a coordinated way.
The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will help the country set up this particular trust fund.
Multiple agencies are expected to serve as administrators of the said fund.
“This is a very different phase from providing food, shelter and sanitation to providing long-term livelihood, long-term disaster preparedness. And basically, if the government will build back better, then we need to know what would make it better,” Ahmad said.
Other countries and agencies such as the European Union, Australia and Canada will surely look into how they can join the building of the trust fund, he noted.
Right now, the British government is looking into different proposals regarding the timeline of the trust fund and how much is needed to be set up.
The donor partners will have to meet first with the Philippine government and discuss what can be offered, the ambassador said.
Then, there is also the proposal from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) that has to be taken into account.
“When you put something like this together, we the United Kingdom, could not simply impose what we would like it to be,” Ahmad said.
But aside from UK’s contribution to the trust fund and its assistance during the relief operations in the hardest-hit areas of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the envoy said they are also studying and assessing how to best help the Philippines in terms of its rehabilitation and recovery programs.
Ahmad attended the donors’ meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs when the President Benigno Aquino 3rd announced the $8.1 billion it needed to rehabilitate areas affected by the typhoon.
But before UK can commit a certain amount, it needed to know two things: one, the Philippine government’s priorities and plans to raise the funds through taxation, soft loans, grants and borrowing; and two, the government’s plan to coordinate with the international community.
“Those discussions are still going on. We have not completed that discussion because the UNDP is just about finishing its assessment on what things it can do.”
“We don’t want to step ahead of this. We believe that with additional funding, with the expertise that we can bring, we can actually help the Philippines deliver faster what it is they want to do and make them pass more accountable and maintain the code of standard that the people expect that we have learned from another places,” the ambassador underlined.