United States’ MCC funds 5-year compact grant to PH govt
By Jennifer P. Gaitano
BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 30 (PIA) – The United States of America’s (USA) Millennium Challenge Corporation is funding a $434 million, five-year compact grant with the Philippines that is expected to benefit millions of Filipinos.
The partnership is focused on reducing poverty through economic growth and comprises three projects: 1) rehabilitating 222 kilometers of a key road in Samar; 2) empowering local communities to identify and implement small-scale infrastructure projects; and 3) improving the effectiveness of government revenue collection and reducing opportunities for corruption by streamlining and computerizing tax administration at the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
With the intention to establish the Revenue Administration Reform Project under the compact, this will address the need to raise tax revenues and reduce tax evasion and revenue agent-related corruption. It focuses on increasing the efficiency and sustainability of revenue collection through a redesign and computerization of business processes at the BIR.
Another project is the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Service (KALAHI-CIDSS), which will improve the lives of people in the rural areas by targeting communities where poverty exceeds the national average through implementation of mall-scale, community-driven development projects.
Through KALAHI-CIDSS, local communities and citizens become partners in the development process and learn how to identify, design, implement (using local labor), and sustain projects at the municipal and barangay levels. In partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), it builds on and supports DSWD’s participatory planning, implementation, and evaluation methodology.
Also, the Secondary National Roads Development Project is designed to reduce transportation costs through the rehabilitation of an existing 222 kilometer road segment in Samar. By bringing about savings in vehicle operating costs and time for both passengers and goods, and by reducing road maintenance costs, the investment will increase commerce in and between the provinces of Samar and Eastern Samar, and ultimately increase incomes.
Moreover, the said project incorporates enhanced safety measures in the final road designs including paved shoulders, construction of sidewalks and curbs where pedestrian activity is higher, improved gateway treatments to indicate where lower speeds are required, and increased use of road narrowing, median islands, and traffic humps to slow traffic speeds.
The compact projects are expected to have robust and demonstrable impacts on incomes of Filipinos – particularly the poor – and on overall economic growth.
Meanwhile, the KALAHI-CIDSS project is expected to benefit over 5-million people by 2030; the road project is expected to directly impact nearly 300,000 people while spurring overall economic development in Samar; and the Revenue Administration Reform Project is also expected to have broad impacts throughout the economy, thus making nearly all citizens project beneficiaries. (JPG/PIA-Caraga)