PH among ‘candidate countries’ for 2018, says US aid agency
The Philippines could once again benefit from US aid via the Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC) following a 2016 deferral prompted by human rights concerns.
In a report, the aid agency said the Philippines was among 66 “candidate countries for FY [fiscal year]2018 based on their per capita income levels and their eligibility to receive assistance under US law…”.
The Millennium Challenge Act of 2003 sought to set up a new development assistance system, with countries to be selected based on several indicators. Eligible countries are able to pick their priorities and are allowed to manage the grants.
Factors considered include the country’s commitment to civil liberties, political rights and the rule of law.
The Philippines was awarded a five-year, $434-million package in 2010. The so-called “compact” ended in May 2016 and the MCC board had announced the previous year that the country was eligible for a new package.
Last December, however, the MCC announced that its board of directors had “deferred a vote on the reselection of the Philippines for compact development, subject to a further review of concerns around rule of law and civil liberties.”
Funds provided during the first compact were used for tax collection reforms at the Bureau of Internal Revenue, 4,000 community development programs under the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services or KALAHI-CIDSS, and the construction of 137 miles of roads and 61 bridges in Samar.