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From 2012 to 2013, the Philippine economy grew at 7 percent annually, and despite recent natural disasters, at 6 percent during the first half of 2014. The country’s economic competitiveness ranking has improved substantially since 2010, mov-ing the country to the top one-third worldwide. Three of the world’s leading credit ratings agencies upgraded the Philippines to an investment-grade rating, underscoring its progress. But with 19.2 percent of Filipinos still living in extreme poverty, much remains to be done to create a more prosperous, stable and well-governed nation.
A key player in the U.S.-Philippines Partnership for Growth, USAID works with the Government of the Philippines and U.S. Government agencies to address the binding constraints to inclusive and sustainable growth in the country, including weak governance, inadequate public finance, lack of infrastructure and limited human capacity. USAID also works with U.S. Government counterparts to help foster stability through civil-military programs in six conflict areas in Mindanao. Lastly, the United States provides a significant amount of disaster relief and recovery support while working closely with the Philippines to increase the country’s environmental resilience and mitigate the risk and impacts of natural disasters.
PARTNERSHIP FOR GROWTH
Through the Partnership for Growth, USAID helps alleviate poverty by improving economic competitiveness and human capacity to increase employment opportunities. Programs support businesses in creating more jobs by streamlining the business licensing process as well as strengthen the capacity of lead government agencies to curb large-scale corruption in government. USAID invests in the next generation’s ability to sustain growth by improving early-grade reading skills for one million children and by working with universities to align curricula with industry demands to better prepare students for the job market. USAID supports the Philippines’ goal of achieving universal health care by improving access to, and increasing demand for, quality health services in 45 provinces that are home to nearly 75 percent of the population.
Natural disasters in the Philippines — one of the most disaster prone countries in the world — have 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 and disproportionately affect the poor, making the mitigation of natural disasters and their impacts critical to achieving inclusive growth. USAID helps improve the environmental resilience of the growing economy by strengthening local natural resource management and biodiversity conservation, improving the capability of government to implement low-emission development strategies, and expanding the use of renewable energy sources.
FOSTERING PEACE AND STABILITY IN MINDANAO
Seven of the 10 poorest provinces in the Philippines are located on the southern island of Mindanao. Strengthening their local governance and increasing socio-economic opportunity are key to achieving inclusive growth and stability in these provinces. USAID fosters peace and stability in six conflict areas in Mindanao through governance, economic growth, health, education, water and natural resource management programs. These programs focus on improving local governments’ capacity to deliver basic public services and strengthen communities’ engagement in decision-making.
The U.S. Government has provided more than $190 million in disaster assistance to the Philippines over the last 10 years. Nearly 75 percent of that amount has been provided since November 2013 to help the Philippines recover from the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan. During the storm’s immediate aftermath, USAID and the U.S. military provided emergency relief to some three million people. USAID’s long-term recovery activities include rebuilding schools and health clinics, investing in livelihood activities, and supporting the Philippine government’s national recovery planning and coordination efforts.
Last updated: November 23, 2015