US-PH ink P7.25 B environment assistance pact

Published February 3, 2021, 6:36 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The United States and the Philippines on Wednesday announced the signing of a P7.25 billion ($150 million) five-year bilateral assistance agreement to protect the Philippine environment by promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, expanding access to renewable energy, and reducing risks from natural disasters.

Signed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the agreement deepens the commitment of the two countries to work together to strengthen government and community efforts, and achieve their shared vision for “safer and more resilient Filipino communities.”

USAID Philippines Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II said in a statement that the new agreement with NEDA, which includes partnerships with the Departments of Natural Resources, Energy, and Agriculture—Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, marks a “new era” in the US government’s longstanding support to the Philippines.

“Our assistance will help protect the forests, fisheries, and water and energy resources for millions of Filipinos, increase livelihoods and promote nature as an engine of sustainable growth,” he said.

The USAID will implement projects to increase access to clean energy and water; improve natural resource management; and protect the Philippines’ landscapes, wildlife, and fisheries.

These projects are also aimed to support the two countries’ shared goal of preserving the Philippines’ world-renowned natural treasures while improving the lives of Filipinos and ensuring sustainable jobs.

The latest agreement on the environment is one of four new, five-year USAID-Government of Philippines Development Assistance Agreements launching in 2020 and 2021, with an anticipated total value of Php32.7 billion ($675 million) over the next five years.