$73 million US-AID boosts RP's energy and environment programs
By Renee F. De Guzman
Manila (11 February) -- The Philippines' energy and environment programs got a big push with the $73 million grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) after the two countries signed recently a bilateral agreement.
The USAID contribution is expected to expand the country's energy and environment programs for the next six years.
Economic and Planning Secretary Ralph Recto signed the "Affirmation of Commitment" for Philippines and United States Agency for International Development Director Jon Lindborg for the US government.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie A.Kenney witnessed the signing of the agreement in Malacaņang recently.
Recto said that with US assistance, the government has lined up new activities including new renewable energy projects, a rural electrification grant and two new biodiversity conservation projects.
These projects he said, will help fulfill government's goals of bringing development to the poorest provinces of Mindanao, to improve the business climate in the region and make its economic growth more equitable, and to promote the use of friendly renewable energy system.
The NEDA chief said that for projects related to climate change, the government would pursue initiatives on solid waste management, watershed protection, rainwater conservation, water recycling, atmospheric activities, fossil fuels, information, fisheries, agriculture, education, foreign affairs and renewable energy.
Other activities for the environment will focus on the preservation and protection of natural resources.
These projects would help create jobs that the government needs to help the country cope with the global financial crisis.
Under the agreement, USAID will support efforts to conserve biodiversity and sustainability, manage natural resources, mitigate and adapt to the effect of climate change; and improve access to water and sanitation services.
The agreement will be implemented with the partnership of the NEDA, the Departments of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, Finance and Energy Regulatory Board.
The NEDA shall also facilitate coordination with other relevant lead agencies and other donor progarns and provide policy direction for the government and ensure that the objective, program areas and elements are consistent with the development strategies, plans and priorities of the government.
The US government is the largest donor to the Philippines environment and energy programs. (PIA La Union) [top]