PH, US sign ₱10.5-billion agreement to boost economic growth

The United States and the Philippine governments have signed a P10.5 billion ($213 million) new five-year bilateral assistance agreement to boost the country’s economic development and growth.

The new U.S.-Philippines economic development agreement is enabling USAID projects to boost local economies through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. USAID has introduced digital solutions that have helped connect.

Signed between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Philippine Department of Finance (DOF), the agreement enables USAID and the Philippines to deepen their commitment to accelerate inclusive, broad-based economic growth through policies that increase investment and trade throughout the Philippines.

Programs and activities under the pact will promote inclusive, market-driven growth; improve the business environment; expand economic opportunities through private sector-led innovation for medium and small businesses, and increase information and communications technology access for the digital economy that benefits both producers and consumers.

“This (bilateral agreement) will expand our support to help the Philippines achieve long-term, private sector-led economic growth and strengthen economic governance. These programs will create jobs and help ensure more inclusive, broad-based economic development,” USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II said in a statement on Monday.

The USAID said activities also include strengthening local civil society organizations to advance locally-led programming and policy-making in the Philippines and facilitating coalitions and partnerships between government and other stakeholders toward data-driven decision-making.

In addition, USAID will continue to support Philippine government objectives by improving public sector transparency and accountability; advancing the rule of law and the justice system; and boosting local governments’ responsiveness to Filipinos’ needs.

The latest bilateral agreement with the finance department is one of four new, five-year USAID-Government of Philippines Development Assistance Agreements being launched in 2020, with an anticipated total value of P32.7 billion ($675 million) over five years.

The other new agreements include the following: To improve underserved Filipinos’ health by strengthening health systems while improving the quality of health services, especially in treating tuberculosis, providing access to those who seek family planning services, and community-based drug dependence treatment (Department of Health);

To protect ecosystems by promoting sustainable use of natural resources, enhance energy security, and build capacity to mitigate risks and respond to natural disasters (National Economic Development Authority); and to improve early grade reading, expand science and mathematics curricula, and increase out-of-school youths’ access to education, professional, and technical skills development that will lead to new job opportunities, and strengthen education governance (Department of Education).