• EU to double funding for Philippines next year


    The European Union (EU) would be “doubling” its total fund disbursement to the Philippines to 70 to 80 million euros (P4 billion to P4.6 billion) by 2014, compared to this year’s 40 million euros (about P2.3 billion).

    EU Development Commissioner Andris Pielbags told reporters after the honorary Eminent Speaker Forum for himself at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that the EU will still be “discussing” on how the 70- to 80-million EU fund to be disbursed to the Philippines for 2014 will be utilized.

    Besides the 40 million euros that EU provided the Philippines for 2013, Piebalgs said in a separate occasion on Tuesday with government officials that there would be an additional 10 million euros (P583 million) that will be disbursed for reconstruction efforts in the Visayas, which will help address the destruction caused by Super Typhoon Yolanda on the region.

    Piebalgs said that the EU priority sectors include “health, support for trade and the Mindanao peace process” for fiscal year 2013.

    “Beyond humanitarian assistance, the EU is already making resources for rehabilitation and reconstruction available to ensure that there is a smooth transition from the crisis management to rebuilding people’s lives. We would like to see no gap between the emergency relief and the longer-term actions, and we will work closely with the government and other development partners for this to happen,” Piebalgs said.

    The 10-million euro additional fund would ease concerns in water and sanitation rehabilitation, power grid repairs, basic health, livelihood support, shelter and repair of infrastructure that “should be more resilient to future typhoons or earthquakes.”

    “The most important today is to provide humanitarian support to the people and second, [the]need to think about construction as the people need to continue [their daily life],” Piebalgs said at the sidelines of the speaker forum.

    For the projected 2014 70- to 80-million euro investment of the EU, Piebalgs said that priority sectors are still to be determined and that the EU will still conduct talks with European member-states.

    “For this stage and for the next period, I still need to discuss with government on where our money will yield more results . . . It could be related to trade, quality control that will allow more fish products to come to global market, but it should be should be established with the government and the areas which not only make money but also have the know-how and more value,” the EU development commissioner said.

    He also noted that it is in the Philippines where the EU provides “additional value-added” investments and aid, while the union extends the other countries—mostly in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region—with help related to social services.


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