EU commits €150M new grants to Philippines — DOF

MANILA, Nov 5 (Mabuhay) — The European Union (EU) has committed an additional €150 million worth of new grants to the Philippines, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Thursday.

The DOF said the bulk or two-thirds of the new EU grants will “help finance programs to boost agricultural productivity in Mindanao and provide electricity to its farflung small island-communities.”

Thomas Wiersing, the charge d’affaires of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, made the commitment during a recent virtual meeting with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to discuss the progress of the development cooperation between the Philippines and the EU, according to the DOF.

As of August 2020, the EU has extended a total of €85 million worth of grants for the government’s peace and development initiatives in Mindanao.

During the virtual meeting, the DOF said, Wiersing reaffirmed the EU’s intention to reorient portions of its grants to the Philippine government’s COVID-19 response efforts in Mindanao.

For his part, Dominguez thanked the EU for continuing to support the Duterte administration’s peace- and confidence-building initiatives as well as for its assistance in boosting trade and agricultural productivity in Mindanao.

The Finance chief also lauded the EU’s plan to reorient portions of its grants to Mindanao’s pandemic response efforts and its intention to provide support to cash-strapped local government units (LGUs) in the south.

Dominguez welcomed the bloc’s plan to provide grants for the electrification of Mindanao’s small island-communities and suggested the use of clean energy to implement this project.

The Cabinet official also brought up the possibility for the EU to assist the Duterte administration in its efforts to provide individual land titles to agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), especially in Mindanao, so they could have property rights and access to credit facilities and other forms of financial support.  (MNS)

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