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PH withdraws from 2nd MCC compact.

By Roy C. Mabasa

Malacanang on Tuesday said the Philippine government withdrew its application to the second compact of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), in order to focus its resources on rebuilding Marawi City.

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the decision was reached on recommendations of policymakers that include Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and the government's economic team.

"It's just that we have to earmark funds also because these are projects with counterpart funds and of course, this will also focus on previously identified projects and we have decided that our resources and our priority will be the rebuilding of Marawi for the time being," he said.

Roque said he was confident that the United States government will fully understand the decision to reallocate the funding priority and it will not, in any way, "adversely impact our eligibility for another round of compact assistance in the future because it calls for counterpart financing as well."

"This is temporary, we will apply again," he said.

A grant from the MCC would require a counterpart funding from beneficiary countries, like the Philippines, Roque explained.

Last October, the MCC released its 2018 scorecard giving the Philippines failing grades on issues of controlling corruption, and in ensuring the rule of law.

Every year each MCC candidate country receives a scorecard assessing performance in three policy categories: Ruling Justly, Investing in People, and Encouraging Economic Freedom.

For a country to be selected as eligible for an MCC assistance program, it must demonstrate a commitment to just and democratic governance, investments in its people and economic freedom as measured by different policy indicators.

MCC is a US-based independent aid agency created by the US Congress in 2004 to help alleviate poverty in poor countries around the globe.

The Philippines is one of the beneficiaries of MCC projects. The implementation of the Compact II project was suspended last year due to alleged human rights issues.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez earlier met with MCC acting Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Nash in Washington, DC where he sought for the extension of the MCC's Compact II project to help ease poverty in the remote "east coast of the Philippines."

"We were discussing with new administration (Trump) here the possibility of extending the Compact II, and we wanted more infrastructure in the East Coast of the Philippines which has very few roads and has a lot of population, the level of poverty is quite high," Dominguez said when he visited Washington, DC last September.

The first MCC compact was used by the Philippines for National Road Development Project, Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan- Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services and Revenue Administration Reform Project at the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Bureau of Customs.

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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Dec 19, 2017
Words:463
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