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How we give aid to the Philippines


Children in a day care centre in Mindanao supported by Australia. Australian aid has provided early childhood care and development opportunities to hundreds of children in disadvantaged communities in the Southern Philippines.

Photo: Jing Damaso/Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Australia is the largest grant donors to the Philippines. The Australia–Philippines Development Cooperation Program Statement of Commitment 2012–2017 has an overarching goal to assist the Philippines to meet its development goals, with a focus on reducing poverty and assisting the poor and vulnerable to take advantage of the opportunities that can arise from a more prosperous, stable Philippines. Two strategic objectives will be pursued to achieve this goal: strengthening basic services for the poor and reducing vulnerabilities arising from climate change and conflict. The Statement of Commitment outlines the respective commitments of the Australian and Philippines Governments to deliver development results in the Philippines—with specific, measurable outcomes to be achieves over the six year period 2012–2017.

The Australia-Philippines Statement of Commitment aligns with President Aquino’s vision for the Philippines as outlined in the 16 point ‘Social Contract with the Filipino People’—the guiding framework for the ‘Philippine Development Plan’. The Philippine Government is making positive early reforms to deliver against this social contract. Australia stands ready to assist where we can.

In addition to the current bilateral program of $105 million, the Philippines will receive an estimated $18.2 million in other Australian aid flows in 2011–12, through regional projects, volunteer programs, non-government organisations and the work of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).The challenges confronting the Philippines are immense but not insurmountable. The President’s social contract provides an unprecedented basis for reinvigorated partnerships between government and civil society, academia, business and donors. The aim of this partnership is that these groups will work collaboratively to move the country forward and ensure transparency, accountability and effectiveness in government services.

Australia's approach to aid delivery in the Philippines includes increasing our policy and sectoral expertise to strengthen the impact of our aid programs. We collaborate with multilateral agencies and other bilateral donors to support common policy agendas; embedding anti-corruption measures throughout aid programs; and incorporating conflict risk management and peace-building principles in Mindanao initiatives.

Because poverty rates continue to increase in the Philippines, despite strong economic growth, the new Philippines Australia country strategy has sharpened its focus on the needs of the poor. Australia is focusing on sectors where we have experience and a comparative advantage. Education continues as the flagship sector of the program, with a deep engagement in three other sectors:

  • improving local government capacity to deliver basic services
  • disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation
  • improving conditions for peace and security.

These deep sectoral engagements are supported by a strong focus on strengthening the transparency, accountability and efficiency of government systems for planning, budgeting and service delivery.

In delivering the program Australia will increase our use of incentives-based approaches with a particular focus at the sub-national (provincial) level. Australian aid can make a greater difference at this level. This means Australian aid will be directed to partners based on performance, i.e. their ability to use aid to achieve development outcomes. Program investments will be informed by greater research and analysis to assist policy formulation and engage in greater political economy analysis.

Last reviewed: 1 November, 2013