US Embassy: Aid not guaranteed for PH

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The United States Embassy on Friday said the Philippines was not yet eligible for a new Millennium Challenge Compact, clarifying a report that identified it as a candidate country.

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“MCC (Millennium Challenge Corp.) recently posted its annual ‘Candidate Country Report’ for Fiscal Year 2018.” Press Attache Molly Koscina said.

“MCC defines a ‘candidate country’ as any country classified by the World Bank as low- or lower-middle income and who is not prohibited by US law from receiving assistance,” she added.

“The Philippines is a candidate country for FY 2018 given its income level.”

Koscina stressed that candidate countries are not necessarily eligible for MCC assistance.

“The MCC Board of Directors has not made a decision on the Philippines’ eligibility for a second compact,” she pointed out.

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.

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