The Philippines has experienced historically solid economic growth of around five per cent per annum over the past decade. However, growth in the Philippines has been narrow – reliant on remittances from Filipinos working overseas to support local consumption, and primarily limited to the sectors of electronic exports, business process outsourcing, services and construction. The investment climate has been undermined by a history of weak governance (particularly corruption), political instability and security concerns, poor infrastructure and high energy costs.
Australia will invest in building the foundations for economic growth through carefully targeted investments in infrastructure, public financial management and education. Education investments will lay the groundwork for a better educated workforce and promote higher participation in the formal labour market.
Australia and the Philippines have a legacy of cooperation to respond to natural disaster and other humanitarian emergencies. Examples include: Typhoon Haiyan (2013), Typhoon Koppu (2015), conflict in Marawi City in the southern Philippines (2017), Typhoon Tembin, and the eruption of Mount Mayon volcano (both 2018).
Strengthening Public Private Partnership Program
$30 million, 2011-2018
There is a critical shortage of infrastructure in the Philippines that constrains growth and efforts to reduce poverty. Australia supports the Philippine Government's efforts to fast-track the use of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) to help meet the country’s infrastructure needs. The goal of this program is to assist the Philippine Government to create an environment that enables the government to harness more private sector finance (i.e. capital markets) and to use that finance more effectively to deliver infrastructure. The program will contribute to new or improved infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, roads and public transport. Australia is partnering with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) to deliver the PPP program.
Basic Education Sector Transformation Program (BEST)
$90 million, 2014-2019
BEST supports the Philippine Government in implementing its ‘K to 12’ education reform agenda, which adds three years of mandatory schooling to bring the Philippines education system in line with ASEAN and international standards. BEST will continue to strengthen the Philippine education system and allow it to produce the globally-competitive workforce that is required for the Philippines to participate more effectively in the regional and international economy.
BEST will help the Department of Education to develop a new curriculum, assessment methods and materials, provide scholarships to train new teachers and provide in-service training to existing teachers, and establish a unified management and information system.
Disaster and Climate Risks Management Initiative
$47 million, 2006-2020
This initiative was established to support the Philippines to strengthen its institutional capacity for disaster preparedness, early warning and forecasting, hazard and risk analysis, and information sharing. This reflects a hard truth: while we cannot stop earthquakes, typhoons or floods, we can act to limit the death, hardship and economic damage disasters regularly cause. Australia works with the Philippines national and local governments, NGOs and UN agencies to provide a flexible mechanism through whichAustralia is able to support emerging priorities of the Philippine Government, so it can respond quickly to disasters and emergencies and support recovery of areas affected.
Philippines Social Protection
$33.6 million, 2009-2019
The initiative supports the Philippine Government's social protection reform agenda. This includes strengthening the capacity of the implementing agency, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the design, management and implementation mechanisms of the country’s main social protection programs (the Philippines Conditional Cash Transfer and Modified Conditional Cash Transfer Program, the Sustainable Livelihood Program, and the National Community Driven Development Program).
Philippines Research Initiative
$5.8 million, 2010-2019
The initiative supports research activities to improve the effectiveness and impact of Australian aid in the Philippines. It also supports the Philippine Government’s policy priority of inclusive economic development through evidence-based advice. The initiative aims to:
- build local capacity to undertake research for development
- generate high-quality evidence on key development issues in the country
- communicate research-based evidence to appropriate audiences, and
- build local capacity to understand and use research for development.
$1.28 million, 2016-2019
The Philippines Project aims to:
- build linkages between Australian and Filipino officials and researchers, to strengthen the networks and evidence base for Philippine policy makers; and
- support influential research on inclusive economic growth, trade and governance in the Philippines.
The Philippines Project is implemented through the Philippines Institute based at the Australian National University (ANU). Project activities and outcomes are planned to align with the priorities of the DFAT Aid Investment Plan in the Philippines 2015-16 to 2017-18 and are aimed at contributing to policy formulation and advice. The Project is co-funded with the ANU to support activities covering interdisciplinary fields of study with a focus on economics, trade and politics.
Investing in Women
Women’s economic empowerment is a priority for the Australian Government. A program that champions women and girls, the Investing in Women initiative was established to improve women’s economic participation, build markets for women and influence the private and public sector to promote women’s economic empowerment in the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia. The initiative works with the private sector to achieve business and workplace gender equality, and partner with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, and programs to ensure institutional and regulatory standards are effectively implemented and benefit women and girls. The initiative is focusing on the following priority areas:
- improving women’s participation in the workforce, and as business leaders.
- enhancing women’s voice in decision making and leadership, and
- influencing the private and public sectors to recognise and promote the value of gender equality.
The total value of this investment is $46 million (2016-2020), including $4 million contributed by the Philippines Program.