Overview of Australia's aid program to the Philippines

How we are helping

2016-17 Total Australian ODA Estimated Outcome
$82.9 million

2017-18 Bilateral Budget Estimate
$67.0 million

2017-18 Total Australian ODA Estimate
$85.0 million

Total Australian Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Philippines will be an estimated $85.0 million in 2017-18. Our economic partnership with the Philippines will focus on all elements of our trade, investment and aid initiatives working together to promote growth.

The Philippines is one of Australia’s longest-standing bilateral relationships. We have shared interests, supported by strong people-to-people links. Australia is home to more than 225,000 (2011 census)  Australians  of Filipino ancestry, with over 10,000 Filipino students enrolled in Australian universities and vocational institutions in 2016. The Philippines is the fifth largest migrant community in Australia. Australia’s interests in the Philippines will be pursued through assisting the Philippine Government with the development of a well-managed and stable government and a more prosperous, inclusive and open economy. A more open economy will not only benefit Filipinos, but also allow both nations to continue to pursue a mature economic partnership.

Australia delivers targeted advice and technical assistance that aims to have a catalytic effect both on reform efforts and capacity development of the Philippine Government. Given the Philippines’ current positive economic position we have shifted our focus from basic service delivery, such as classroom construction, towards supporting the Philippine Government to better manage its own resources.

The strategic direction of Australian aid to the Philippines is informed by the Australian Government’s development policy Australian aid: promoting prosperity, reducing poverty, enhancing stability; Australia’s national interests; by our ability to add value; and our previous development results. Australia’s aid will align with the priorities of the Philippines Government which is seeking to put the country on the path of accelerated and inclusive development. The Philippine Government has had an ambitious reform agenda in recent years to tackle poverty, improve governance and address corruption, while pushing through important social sector reforms, including education, and promoting peace in the Southern Philippines.

Our aid program is organised around the following three mutually reinforcing objectives as outlined in the Aid Investment Plan.

Objective 1: Enhancing the foundations for economic growth

Australia will make greater investment in building the foundations for economic growth through carefully targeted investments in economic reform, infrastructure, aid for trade and education. Education investments will lay the ground work for a better educated workforce and promote higher participation in the formal labour market.

Enhancing the foundations for economic growth

Objective 2: Building stronger institutions for transparent and accountable governance

Improving the quality of governance in the Philippines is fundamental to the country’s prosperity and stability. In response to the challenge of weak institutions and corruption, we will support the national government as it fosters a culture of accountability and transparency.

Building stronger institutions for transparent and accountable governance

Objective 3: Improving conditions for peace and stability

Australia’s national interest in regional political stability promotes programs in Mindanao that support a more credible and widely supported peace agreement, strengthened institutional capacity to implement the agreement and stronger local mechanisms for averting the escalation of violence. Our programs will also have a positive impact in the medium term on poverty and growth at the local level. Australia’s investments in peace and stability are targeted, flexible and build on previous experience.

The women, peace and security agenda is a priority of Australia’s work in Mindanao. Our program provides support to address issues affecting women and men during and after conflict. This includes helping women to participate in the peace process, ensuring their needs for protection are met and incorporating gender perspectives in program delivery.

Improving conditions for peace and stability

Our results

Below are some highlights of our results under the Australia’s aid program to the Philippines. More information on our past year results can be found in the Philippines Aid Program Performance Reports for 2014-15 and 2015-16. The Aid Program Performance Report for 2016-17 is being prepared and will be available from this website later in 2017.

  • Over nine years, the Philippines Social Protection initiative has supported the Philippine Government’s social protection reform agenda.  We helped to conceptualise, design and implement flagship social protection programs including the Philippines Conditional Cash Transfer Program, the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction, the Sustainable Livelihood Program and the National Community Driven Development Program, which are all designed specifically targeting the poor and vulnerable in the Philippines.  Our achievements under the initiative include:
    • The Philippines’ Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) helped 1,345,867 families, between 2011 and 2016 to find employment or start an enterprise. Australia helped implement SLP through supporting a business process review of the program, and developing policies, took kits and manuals to improve the program’s monitoring and evaluation, organisational structure, and livelihood development activities.
    • Australia provided $12 million to help build 601 classrooms and daycare centres and supported the development of guidelines on bottom-up budgeting to help the poor have a greater voice in the allocation of public funds.  Our assistance contributed to the empowerment of 4.9 million households in the Philippines, improved their access to basic social services, and helped them to participate in the identification, planning, budgeting and implementation of community-based projects.
  • Over eight years, the Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao Program, which is due to end in June 2017, has contributed to the improvement of education quality in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Our main achievements under the program include:
    • Contributed to 5.71 mean percentage increase on assessment test scores for Grade 3 students in the core subjects of math, science, reading and grammar in English and Filipino.
    • More than 12,000 teachers were trained in teacher skills and capacity development.
    • Almost 2,000 school handwashing units have been installed to improve health and hygiene in the program supported schools.
    • Contributed to enrolment of around 54,000 children in the alternative delivery model learning centres in locations with limited or no access to regular schools.
    • Supported over 50 madrasahs to implement a regular national secular curriculum and achieve management standards allowing them to access sustainable government funding.
    • Provided various school facilities and resources including constructed and rehabilitated 230 classrooms and refurbished and stocked 300 libraries.
Australia provided 54,000 children from school-less and conflict-affected areas of Autonomous Region in Muslin Mindanao with access to basic education.

Our changing program

The Philippines program has been reshaped to form a consolidated program aligned with the key objectives of inclusive economic growth; effective governance; and peace and stability. This reflects a transition from a traditional donor-recipient partnership to an economic partnership with the Philippines, with an emphasis on investments that are targeted, catalytic, leverage the Philippine Government’s own resources and are based on the Philippines’ own commitments in the Filipino Development Plan.

In 2017-18 we will launch a new Trade and Inclusive Economic Growth facility, designed to help the Philippines to achieve sustained inclusive growth through improving competitiveness, increasing trade and investment, and strengthening economic institutions. A new infrastructure program is being developed to promote improved infrastructure planning and delivery. Our support in education will focus on provision of technical advice to improve standards and teaching and learning outcomes, allowing the Philippine education system to perform at international levels. We will build academic linkages between Australia and the Philippines through the Philippines Project with the Australian National University.

The Australia Awards Scholarships 2017-18 intake will be  149 scholars including 36 short-term awards. We will continue our support to peace and stability programs, particularly in the southern Philippines and Muslim Mindanao, through a range of education and governance initiatives.

Disaster risk reduction principles, environmental and social safeguards and disability-inclusive policies will be routinely and consistently considered in the design, implementation and monitoring of our aid investments, particularly in the infrastructure sector. Australia will continue to be a responsive neighbour to support the Philippine Government to respond to large scale natural disaster events.



Last Updated: 9 May 2017
Australia supports the delivery of balanced education for Muslim boys and girls in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
Accompanied by official from the local government in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop meets with teachers, parents and young students of pre-school centers supported by the Australian Government-funded Basic Education Assistance for Muslim Mindanao Program in Davao City, 17 March 2017.
A wooden bridge
The Philippines Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely launched the new Australian-funded warehouse at the DSWD National Relief Operations Center in the Philippines to enhance humanitarian response.
Australia trained women in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in traditionally masculine trades such as welding to challenge gender stereotypes and promote gender equality.