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Our Work

Butanding Festival
School children of Donsol in Sorsogon participate in the celebration of the annual Butanding (local name for whale sharks) Festival. USAID supports coastal resource management and ecotourism activities.

The Philippines, Southeast Asia’s oldest democracy, is an important development, trade and security partner to the United States. In recent years, the Philippines has made substantial economic progress, with a growth rates rivaling China’s. From 2012 and 2013, the Philippine economy grew at 7 percent per year, and despite recent disasters, at 5.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014. These growth rates are among the fastest in the Asia-Pacific and across emerging markets globally. The country’s competitiveness ranking jumped 26 places in three years, and has moved the country to the top 40 percent worldwide. Three international raters gave the Philippines an investment-grade rating. However, 42 percent of the Filipinos still live below the international poverty line of $2 a day.

The U.S. Government’s (USG) development assistance goal in the Philippines is to help the country become a more stable, prosperous and well-governed nation. Development assistance is provided largely by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and the Peace Corps, with support from the Department of State, Commerce, Agriculture, Treasury, and Labor. Mainly through the Partnership for Growth – a White House Initiative of which the Philippines is one of the four participants globally—these agencies collaborate to address the binding constraints to inclusive and sustainable growth in the country, including weak governance, inadequate public finance, lack of infrastructure and weak human capacity. In addition, a U.S. Embassy-wide Mindanao Working Group helps to foster stability in six conflict areas in Mindanao through civil-military programs. Lastly, with the Philippines being one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, the USG, largely through USAID and the U.S. military, provides a significant amount of disaster relief and recovery support to the country.

USAID’s programs are focused on achieving inclusive, sustained, and resilient growth by: (a) improving economic competitiveness and human capacity; (b) fostering peace and stability in six conflict areas in Mindanao; and (c) strengthening the country’s environmental resilience. In addition, USAID plays a key role in providing humanitarian assistance.

Partnership for Growth

Through the Partnership for Growth, our programs help to improve economic competitiveness and human capacity in order to increase employment opportunities domestically, generate incomes, and alleviate poverty. Our work in the following sectors supports the achievement of these objectives:

Economic Growth and Governance: Our programs in these sectors help the Philippines to: (a) improve the quality and implementation consistency of Philippine Government policies, especially in trade, private sector development, fiscal performance, and expenditure management; (b) strengthen corporate governance and the capacity of lead government agencies to curb large-scale corruption in government; (c) enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the judiciary to enforce commercial contracts; (d) support enterprise development initiatives by streamlining business permit and licensing processes and improving access to credit: and (e) facilitate the implementation of the Philippine Government’s public-private partnerships in infrastructure development.

Education: USAID’s basic education program is designed to prepare one million children to participate productively in the Philippines’ socio-economic development process by creating strong foundational skills in early-grade reading. In the higher education sector, USAID strengthens universities’ capabilities in science, research, and technology development; enhances innovation and entrepreneurship in university curricula; and ensures that the academe’s curricula are effectively responsive to, and aligned with, industries’ human resource needs

Health: Improved access to health is key to enhancing labor productivity and breaking the cycle of poverty. USAID supports the Philippines’ goal of achieving universal health access through its family planning, tuberculosis control, and maternal and child health program. Specifically, USAID helps to improve access to, and increase the demand for, quality health services in 45 provinces, with an estimated population of 74 million, or 74 percent of the total population of the Philippines this year.

Fostering Peace and Stability in Mindanao

Seven out of the 10 poorest provinces in the Philippines are located in the Southern Island of Mindanao. Inclusive growth and stability will not be achieved in Mindanao as long as it remains weakly governed and socio-economically deprived. Through our assistance in governance, economic growth, health, education, water, natural resources management, USAID hopes to foster peace and stability in six conflict areas in Mindanao by helping to: (a) improve the capacity of local government units to deliver social and economic services; (b) strengthen the engagement of local communities, including and especially the youth, in local economic and social initiatives.

Strengthening the Philippines’ Environmental Resilience

The occurrence of natural disasters in the Philippines has been increasing in frequency and intensity, especially over the last five years. Losses due to natural disasters have typically amounted to about $5 billion annually. With the negative impact of natural disasters disproportionately affecting the poor, inclusive growth will not be achieved unless measures are taken to mitigate the impacts of disasters. USAID’s global climate change programs help to improve the environmental resilience of the Philippines growing economy by reducing the risks and impacts of natural disasters, strengthening local natural resource management and biodiversity conservation, and improving the capability of local and national governments to implement low-emission development strategies and expand the usage of renewable energy sources.

Humanitarian Assistance

The USG has provided over $190 million in disaster assistance to the Philippines over the last ten years. Assistance to help the Philippines recover from the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan, which struck the country last November of 2013, accounts for 75 percent, or $142.5 million. This includes emergency relief of $90.5 million provided by USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the U.S. military in the immediate aftermath of the typhoon. The remainder--$52 million- -comprises of USAID/Philippines’s recovery and rehabilitation activities, including rebuilding schools and health clinics, funding livelihood activities, and supporting the Philippine Government’s recovery planning and coordination efforts. Beyond emergency and recovery assistance, USAID is helping the Philippines to strengthen its capability in implementing disaster risk reduction measures.


Last updated: January 29, 2015

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