The European Union committed an additional 150 million euros worth of grants to the Philippines to help finance agricultural productivity programs in Mindanao and provide electricity to small island-communities, the Department of Finance said Thursday.
Thomas Wiersing, the charge d’affaires of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, made the commitment during a recent virtual meeting with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to discuss the progress of the development cooperation between the Philippines and the EU.
Documents showed the EU extended 85 million euros worth of grants for the government’s peace and development initiatives in Mindanao as of end-August.
Wiersing reaffirmed the EU’s intention to reorient portions of its grants to the Philippine government’s COVID-19 response efforts in Mindanao, the DOF said.
He also restated the EU’s continuing assistance to institute reforms in the Philippines’ justice system through the second phase of the Justice Sector Reform Program: Governance in Justice.
Dominguez expressed his appreciation for the EU’s plan to reorient portions of its grants to Mindanao’s pandemic response efforts and its intention to provide support to cash-strapped local government units in the South.
He also welcomed the EU’s plan to provide grants for the electrification of Mindanao’s small island-communities and suggested the use of clean energy to implement this project.
Dominguez sought the EU’s expertise and assistance in accelerating the competitiveness of the Philippines’ manufacturing sector, given its weaknesses as a result of the country’s sudden jump from an agriculture- to a services-based economy.
Dominguez said the EU, with its large manufacturing base, could share its technical expertise or extend assistance in providing the necessary equipment to help integrate medium-sized enterprises in the supply chain of big companies.
Strengthening and incentivizing the manufacturing sector will help the Philippines sustain its recovery from the pandemic, Dominguez said.
Dominguez also broached the possibility for the EU to assist the Duterte administration in its efforts to provide individual land titles to agrarian reform beneficiaries especially in Mindanao, so they could have property rights and access to credit facilities and other forms of financial support.