• UN to provide PH with 70 to 80-M euro funding 2014, adds 10-M euro to Visayas reconstruction in wake of ‘Yolanda’

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    The European Union (EU) would be “doubling” their 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 total disbursement of 40 million euros (P2.3 billion), according to EU Development Commissioner Andris Pielbags.

    Piebalgs 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 spent to the Philippines for 2014.

    Aside from the 40 million euro that EU provided the Philippines for 2013, Piebalgs said in a separate occasion on Tuesday with government officials that there would be additional 10 million euros (P583 million) fund to be disbursed to Visayas reconstruction to address the destruction brought about by Typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan).

    Given the humanitarian assistance of 10 million euros and the previous 3 million euros provided by EU for Yolanda victims, Piebalgs said that the EU priority sectors include “health, support for trade and the Mindanao peace process” for the fiscal year of 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 need to think about construction as the people need to continue [their daily life],” Piebalgs said at the sidelines of the speaker forum.

    “No country alone can build all those infrastructures for a short time but devt partners could support countries to develop in a certain capacity to resist extreme convictions until such time that support is coming. I believe it is not only in the Philippines but also in Asia-Pacific region that infrastructure investments should be done,” he added.

    Piebalgs said that the infrastructure projected to be rehabilitated in the Visayas area should be “resistant to typhoons” to prevent further destructions in case calamities happen.

    But 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 in determining sectors to be given aid in the Philippines.

    “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 they provide “additional value added” investments and aid, while they provide some other countries—mostly in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region—with help related to social services sectors. Kristyn Nika M. Lazo

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