Navigate Up
Sign In



heading foldHow we are helping

2013/14 Estimated Outcome

$176.6 million

2014/15 Budget Estimate

$143.0 million


Australia and the Philippines are working together to promote prosperity, increase economic growth, and enhance stability both in the Philippines, and in our broader region.

The Philippine Government’s priorities are to improve governance, combat corruption and reduce poverty. Australia’s partnership with the Philippines supports these reforms. The 2014 Philippines-Australia Ministerial Meeting agreed on priorities including: partnering for education reforms and enhancing the foundations for sustained economic growth; promoting disaster preparedness; improving conditions for peace and security; and building stronger institutions for inclusive development.

A group of people gathered around a map
Government units, NGOs, academics and indigenous communities participate in a mapping workshop to identify threats to the forest and environment ecosystem (credit: DFAT).

Australia will invest in education to support a skilled workforce needed to boost labour productivity for higher-value industries. Just 19 per cent of children complete schooling. Unless education quality, access and retention are improved, the performance of the education system will continue to constrain economic growth and hamper efforts to reduce poverty. Australia is supporting the Philippine Government’s ambitious reform agenda to:

  • expand schooling from 10 to 13 years, in line with international standards. By 2019 Australian assistance will benefit over eight million boys and girls enrolled in nearly 19,000 schools with improvements in teacher quality, curriculum and assessment, as well as access to high quality learning materials
  • support training programmes for 225,000 teachers and build over 1,000 classrooms
  • skill-up its workforce by awarding 110 Australia Awards Scholarships for study in Australia.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop launches an education programme in the Philippines
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop launches an education programme in the Philippines (credit: DFAT).

Inadequate infrastructure investment in the Philippines is a constraint to growth. Australia is supporting the Philippine Government’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) reform agenda to enhance the foundations for sustained economic development. Its objective is to deliver better services to Filipinos and increase private sector participation and investment in key areas of infrastructure including roads, railways, utilities and classrooms. Our assistance has seen five major construction projects successfully contracted, including the major USD360 million Ninoy Aquino International Airport Expressway PPP, and is helping to promote economic growth by connecting people to markets through vital infrastructure.

The Philippines is the third most vulnerable country in the world to natural disasters. Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda, November 2013) killed more than six thousand people and displaced over four million. In 2013 Australia provided over $40 million in humanitarian assistance to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan as well as significant assistance provided by the Australian Defence Force. This helped meet urgent needs including food, clean water and shelter, as well as health care through the deployment of Australian medical teams who treated over 3,000 people in Tacloban, one of the worst affected areas. The long-term effects of Haiyan are immense, with the Philippine Government estimating USD8.2 billion needed for recovery and reconstruction, with an additional two million people driven below the poverty line by the disaster. To mitigate the damage caused by natural disasters, Australia will help to build resilience by promoting disaster preparedness, improving the country’s technical knowledge on hazards and disasters, and helping communities to improve their capacity to prepare for and respond to disasters.

Decades of violent conflict have left large parts of Mindanao trapped in vicious cycles of poor governance and under development, and have threatened regional stability. The signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro between the Philippine Government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front holds much potential for progress. Australia will contribute to the peace process in Mindanao by building more capable and responsive state institutions and expanding economic opportunities for conflict-affected communities.

Investing in effective governance will help support economic growth. Weak governance and a lack of budget transparency and accountability persist at the national and local levels and have a direct impact on the provision of basic services. Australia will strengthen the governance of public institutions in the Philippines by:

  • helping to improve opportunities for women and girls to benefit equally from economic growth
  • helping the Philippine Government to embed public finance reforms, and modernise its public financial management systems. By 2015, several million manual paper-based processes will be automated, helping to improve the efficiency and transparency of public spending.

Engineers working on a wooden bridge
Engineers work on the construction of a hanging footbridge as part of an ASEAN disaster response exercise in Sapang Bato, Philippines (credit: DFAT).

Archived details of expenditure for this program for 2013–14 can be found here.

Archived details of expenditure for DFAT’s aid program, following the Government’s announcement on 18 January 2014 to revise the aid budget, can be found here.


Results to 30 June 2012

  • Full immunisation of 82 per cent of children aged up to 11 months in 10 provinces since 2007 (UNICEF and Australian Aid).
  • Improved access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities for 26,000 children in 70 public schools.

Commitments 2012–17

  • Maternal and infant health will improve through our contribution to the UN Joint Program to assist local government services. The program aims to ensure 100 per cent of pregnant women in public health facilities deliver their babies safely.


Results to 30 June 2012

  • Better administration of school funds as 45,000 schools (85 per cent of Filipino public schools) implemented their own management systems.
  • 9,500 children in 300 pre-schools in Islamic areas have benefited from curriculums enhanced with Islamic values.
  • Australia provided expert advice to assist the Philippines introduce three additional years of schooling.

Commitments 2012–17

  • Australian aid will help train 41,000 teachers to national standards
  • Provide 15,000 out-of-school youth with technical and vocational training.
  • Build 7,500 new classrooms, providing an additional 400,000 student places.

Economic development

Results to 30 June 2012

  • 528 community development grants delivered across 60 of Philippines’ 81 provinces through the Philippines-Australian Community Assistance Program. This doubled the median monthly household income of 332,000 poor people.
  • Fifteen road rehabilitation projects completed in 2011 benefiting at least 51,000 people and lowering transportation costs on select routes by at least 30 per cent in the provinces.

Commitments 2012–17

  • Local government will be more effective in providing services for the poor, including road infrastructure.  By 2017, Australian aid will support local governments to fully disclose budgets, finance and procurement activities to the public.
  • Australian aid will support competitive tendering of 15 public-private partnership projects to facilitate $1.5 billion of new infrastructure benefiting two million Filipinos.


Results to 30 June 2012

  • Risk of fraud reduced in the two highest spending agencies (Department of Public Works and Highways and Department of Education) through better internal audit systems.
  • Greater budget transparency, accountability and decreased risk of corruption in the Department of Public Works and Highways through the introduction of an electronic accounting system.

Commitments 2012–17

  • Support to the Government to deliver on governance initiatives in the Development Plan 2010–2016 will bring greater accountability and transparency so that resources are better used for reducing corruption, improving good governance and providing basic services to the poor.
  • Strengthen internal controls and audit practices in government to improve overall integrity systems.
  • Australia will support the conduct of more credible and legitimate elections in 2013 in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.


Results to 30 June 2012

  • Essential shelter, livelihood and water and sanitation services delivered to victims of Tropical Storm Washi (2011) through $7.8 million in humanitarian assistance.
  • Early warning systems for 21 coastal communities introduced, with communities maintaining safe haven signs and regularly practising tsunami drills.
  • Australia supported an aerial survey of Manila to generate state-of-the-art climate change and risk maps, which will be incorporated into urban planning to build safer houses for poor people.

Commitments 2012–17

  • Produce detailed hazard and vulnerability maps which will provide a basis for improved comprehensive land use plans and disaster contingency planning in Metro Manila and coastal provinces.
  • Strengthen multi-hazard forecasting and monitoring by relevant technical agencies.
  • By 2017, 1,800 poor households in areas of Metro Manila considered high hazard for natural disasters will have safer and disaster-resilient housing.

Research overview

Good research can lead to positive change for the world’s poorest by enhancing the design and implementation of development policies and programs. That’s why Australian Aid is committed to an innovative research portfolio and funds research, including through:

  • competitive funding mechanisms (such as the Australian Development Research Awards Scheme)
  • research partnerships with different Australian, international and developing country research institutions
  • commissioning research to address a specific question or clearly defined research gap, and
  • one-off research grants, when an existing program of research is relevant to the Australian aid program.

More information on how Australia funds research

Research funded by Australian aid's Philippines country program specifically targets Philippine’s development challenges, and often uses Filipino academics and institutions to undertake the research. Some of the recent highlights of this research are listed below.

Improving school management

Mobilizing Local Government Units Support for Basic Education: Focus on the Special Education Fund

This discussion paper was published by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies in 2011.

Read the paper [PDF 240kb] (external website)

Australia commissioned this research as a contribution to policy discussions on basic education reform in relation to improving the implementation of school based management. Effective school management draws on the resources of all stakeholders with an interest in education—including local governments.

Delivery of basic public education in the Philippines is still highly centralised. However, local government units (LGUs) provide steady supplementary funding support for education by earmarking a part of their real property tax into a Special Education Fund (SEF). The resources that LGUs provide to the basic education sector are quite significant, amounting to 7 per cent of total government spending on basic education in 2001–2008. Thus, LGUs are considered major partners of the national government in the delivery of basic education services.

This study examines the efficiency and effectiveness of the management of the SEF in terms of its collection, allocation, and utilization. It advises how to maximize LGUs support and how to promote a more equitable allocation of resources for basic education. The study finds that there is a need to improve the governance of Local School Boards (LSBs) and establish clearer guidelines on the preparation of the LSB budget. It also recommends greater transparency between the Department of Education (DepED) and LGUs in the reporting arrangements of sources and uses of resources in order to foster a better working relationship between DepED and LSB.

Successful policy reform

Built on Dreams, Grounded in Reality: Economic Policy Reform in the Philippines

This research was published by The Asia Foundation in November 2011.

Read 'Built on Dreams, Grounded in Reality: Economic Reform in the Philippines' (external website)

As part of research to inform the development of our next Philippines strategy, Australia supported The Asia Foundation to undertake a study into the factors contributing to successful policy reform. USAID also contributed funding for the research.

This volume of case studies on the Philippines economy focuses on institutional change and seeks to develop a better understanding of how human actors create this change. The cases trace the political battles involved in five successful and two unsuccessful reform efforts in the Philippines: in telecommunications, sea transport, civil aviation, water privatization, property rights legislation, tax administration and the agricultural (grain) sector.

The lessons highlighted are that:

  1. the process is iterative, non-linear and context-specific
  2. political analysis and political action are no less important than technical analysis
  3. committed local leadership is the principal reform driver
  4. development agencies can play critical supportive roles.

The volume concludes by suggesting an operational approach for achieving institutional change, referred to as ‘development entrepreneurship’. Development entrepreneurship provides one compelling pathway for development agencies to incorporate politics, manage risk, and improve aid effectiveness.

Civil society organisations in the Philippines

Civil Society Organizations in the Philippines, A Mapping and Strategic Assessment

Australia commissioned the Civil Society Resource Institute (CSRI) of the Philippines to undertake a series of studies and strategic assessments of various types of civil society organizations. The research was used to inform the design of our new Coalitions For Change initiative which will help build coalitions comprising civil society, the Philippines government and the private sector to successfully pursue change.

Development non-government organisations (NGOs), cooperatives, media NGOs and think tanks were analysed in terms of their institutional strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats they face in the political and socio-economic context in the Philippines.

Various types of people's organisations were also examined as part of the study—peasant and fisher folk organisations, labour unions, urban poor groups, women’s organizations and organisations of people with disabilities.

The study puts forward recommendations on how these organisations can be further strengthened so that they can continue playing important roles in the maturing process of Philippine democracy.

Read the CSO Mapping and Strategic Assessment

Where is the Philippines?

View Philippines in a larger map


Demographic and development statistics for the Philippines


heading fold Why we give aid


Poverty in the Philippines has been increasing since 2003 and 26.5 per cent of the total population currently live below the poverty line. Australia’s aid program is working with the government to reverse these trends.

Find out more about why we give aid to the Philippines


heading fold How we give aid

Australia is one of the largest bilateral grant aid donors to the Philippines. Our aid is delivered through partnerships with multilateral agencies, other donors, the private sector and civil society and through Australian volunteers.


heading foldProgress Against MDGs

  • Eradicate extreme hunger & poverty
  • Achieve universal primary education
  • Promote gender equality and empower women
  • Reduce child mortality
  • Improve maternal health
  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  • Ensure environmental sustainability

Demographic and development statistics for the Philippines


Last reviewed: 28 October, 2014