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17/12/2015: US MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION TO PROVIDE 2ND GRANT PACKAGE TO PH

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-083-2015
17 December 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Board of Directors unanimously re-selected the Philippines on 16 December 2015 for a second compact, and recognized the country’s continuing efforts to improve its performance on MCC’s scorecard, which measures countries’ commitment to ruling justly, ensuring economic freedom and genuinely investing in their people.

The formal re-selection of the Philippines to continue developing its compact was announced today by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent American aid agency created by the US Congress in 2004. The re-selection follows the Board’s decision last year that the Philippines was eligible for a second compact.

The second compact is expected to succeed the first compact that is about to expire at the end of May 2016. Approved in 2010, the first compact provided the Philippines with US$262 million for the Secondary National Roads Development Project to improve access to markets and services for farmers, fishermen and small businessmen; US$120 million for Kalahi-CIDSS that empowers communities by encouraging their participation in poverty reducing activities; and US$54.3 million for the computerization and streamlining of business processes of the Bureau of Internal Revenue to bolster tax collection and reduce corruption under the Revenue Administration Reform Project.

“The re-selection of the Philippines for a second compact is a recognition of President Aquino’s firm and continuing commitment to good governance,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

Ambassador Cuisia said Manila’s re-selection came after the recent release of the latest MCC scorecard where the country passed 12 out of 20 indicators, including Trade Policy, Land Rights Access, Rule of Law; and the “must-pass” indicators of Control of Corruption and Democratic Rights, both of which are considered “hard hurdles.”

“This is a strong vote of confidence by the MCC Board that will have important implications for maintaining investors’ confidence in the Philippine economy and will complement the great strides we have made in the economic front,” he added. “And I expect that the reforms and good governance that the Philippines has embraced under President Aquino will be sustainable even after June 30, 2016 because these have been institutionalized and the Filipino people will continue to be vigilant.”

Ambassador Cuisia also noted that the re-selection will provide further impetus to the work being done by the Philippine Core Team, which is currently developing concept notes on possible investment areas that will be proposed to the MCC. He also expressed confidence that the project designs of the eventual investments by the MCC could be finalized before a new Government is inaugurated in June 2016.

It is expected that the MCC investments for the second compact will likely be in projects addressing the constraints that have so far been identified, namely, government coordination and implementation capacity, high costs of transport logistics, cost of electricity, and land and market failures. ###