Amb. Cuisia lauds Compact implementation
WASHINGTON, D.C.— “The United States have made significant contributions to our country’s development throughout the years in the same way that Filipino-Americans have contributed to its growth and prosperity. I think that our relationship in the context of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), both in terms of the first compact that we just closed and the second compact that we are developing, best represents the partnership that we have forged as two great nations on opposite shores of the Pacific Ocean.”
This was the concluding paragraph of the remarks of Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. at the Panel Discussion hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. to mark the close out of the First Philippine MCC Compact.
Signed in 2010, and worth $434 million of MCC investments in the Philippines, the first compact improved tax revenue collection and administration to reduce opportunities for corruption, rehabilitated a secondary national road network in Eastern Visayas, and funded about 4,000 small-scale community development projects in rural, high-poverty areas based on needs identified and prioritized by residents of the project communities.
Sharing the perspective of the Philippine Government at the panel discussion, Ambassador Cuisia emphasized the need for the full commitment of the partner government.
“In order for any compact to be effective and successful, the partner government needs to be fully committed to work with MCC and be a genuine partner in harnessing the resources being made available in a way that unleashes its economic, and developmental, potential. This commitment is important because good governance and transparency are paramount hallmarks of an MCC compact,” Ambassador Cuisia asserted.
Ambassador Cuisia also emphasized that the compact should be designed in order to empower people and their communities. “The first compact projects, particularly on infrastructure and its support for community-driven development, were transformative. They changed the lives of ordinary people and empowered them to create a better future that they can claim as their own,” he stated.
MCC Chief Executive Officer Dana Hyde, in her keynote speech, recognized the transformative power of the MCC investments. Referring to her visit for the close out event in the Philippines last May, she said that, “the people we met with were very compelling, and they explained how they felt taking development into their own hands and how impactful the MCC projects have been in their lives.”
As Ambassador Cuisia noted, “in pursuing inclusive growth and investing in the Filipino through projects such as those of the MCC, we have empowered our people to become greater participants and stakeholders in growing the Philippine economy.”
Also speaking at the CSIS panel were Ambassador Mark Green, President of the International Republican Institute and Member of the MCC Board; and Ms. Marivic Añonuevo, Managing Director and CEO of Millennium Challenge Account-Philippines, which was the implementing entity for the first compact.
The Philippines and MCC held a formal Closing Event for the First Compact on 24 May 2016 at ceremonies in Malacañan Palace in Manila. President Benigno S. Aquino III was the Guest of Honor, together with MCC Chief Executive Officer Dana Hyde, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, and Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima.
In December 2014, the Philippines was selected for a second compact, which is now being developed.
“It is a rare opportunity for us to work with a strong partner and a dynamic economy like the Philippines, and if our first compact is any indication we are really hopeful that we will be able to achieve some fantastic things moving forward with the second compact,” Ms. Hyde said at the CSIS.
Noting that the Philippines and the United States are celebrating this year the 70th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations, Ambassador Cuisia lauded the outstanding development partnership that has been forged in MCC.
“May it last, may it contribute to our progress, may it bring our peoples only closer to each other,” he said at CSIS.
President Aquino Cites SNRDP
President Benigno S. Aquino III cited the ongoing rehabilitation of a 222-kilometer road from Samar to Eastern Samar as crucial in the Government’s overall road infrastructure development plan to interconnect the three provinces of Samar Island.
In a recent visit to Eastern Samar, President Aquino noted that the Secondary National Roads Development Project, being funded as part of the $434 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact in the Philippines, complements the Samar Island Circumferential Road Project that aims to interconnect the provinces of Samar, Northern Samar, and Eastern Samar and promote trade and commerce with the rest of Eastern Visayas and beyond.