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Development assistance in the Philippines

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Australia's development partnership with the Philippines

How are we helping

2020-21 bilateral allocation [budget estimate]
$63.4 million
2020-21 total Australian ODA [budget estimate]
$80.0 million
2019-20 total Australian ODA [budget actual]
$83.9 million

The Philippines is one of Australia's longest-standing bilateral relationships and we will celebrate 75 years of diplomatic ties in 2021. Bilateral cooperation is underpinned by the Joint Declaration on Australia — The Philippines Comprehensive Partnership.  

Our development partnership is an important and continuing part of Australia's relationship with the Philippines.  Australia supports a sovereign, stable and resilient Philippines that returns quickly to economic growth post-COVID-19.

Australia works through established, trusted partners to provide support to strengthen the Philippines' own systems, with a focus on policy reform and building capacities. We deliver our programs at national and community levels, working with the Philippine Government, local partners, business, multilateral agencies, research organisations and civil society.

Pillar 1 — Health Security

Australia's development assistance seeks to improve the Philippine Government's capacity to respond to health needs that have arisen from or are exacerbated by COVID-19. Given our long-standing partnerships with key humanitarian and multilateral organisations, we are well placed to pivot our programs to deliver critical equipment and services, and support Philippine agencies to address constraints and improve their systems.

Our assistance has included increasing the capacity of COVID-19 testing through new laboratories, sourcing one million masks, providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to health workers, establishing community health centres in Mindanao and providing maternal, sexual and reproductive health services, supplies and information to women and girls. Australia is also supporting equitable access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.

Further information on programs addressing health security in the Philippines can be found at Pillar 1 — Health Security in the Philippines.

Pillar 2 - Stability

Australia's support to the Philippines fosters inclusive, cohesive communities and helps mitigate threats to regional security, reinforcing our strong defence and security cooperation partnerships. Our support has a substantial focus on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which is home to some the country's poorest and most vulnerable communities.

Australia's investments in education help ensure learning continuity for students to avoid an increase in school dropout rates, which would have long term economic and social implications. We assist with distance learning and help to train teachers to deliver classes remotely, including tailored support for learners with disabilities.

Given the risks posed by having children spend more time online because of COVID-19 quarantine measures, we also help parents and children to support home-based learning and alert them to the increased risks of online child sexual exploitation and abuse by predators.

Through Australia's governance programs, we are developing a network of civil society organisations, national and local government leaders, and other stakeholders that are able to help the Philippine Government make timely COVID-19 related decisions and develop healthcare and economic policy.

Further information on programs addressing stability in the Philippines can be found at Pillar 2 — Stability in the Philippines.

Pillar 3 - Economic Recovery

To support the Philippine Government's economic recovery program, Australia is working innovatively with key partners to strengthen policies and institutions and advance inclusive economic growth. We also work with local governments and women-led small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to increase their preparedness for and resilience to economic shocks, including impacts from climate change.

The pandemic has made more urgent the need for semi- and low-skilled workers to adapt to the emerging changes facing key Philippine industries. Australia is working with the Philippine Government and the private sector on the challenges of technological disruption, by helping identify the skills required by workers most at risk of being displaced by automation. Efforts to reskill and upskill workers will be important to boost labour competitiveness and kick-start the economy.

Further information on programs addressing economic recovery in the Philippines can be found at Pillar 3 — Economic Recovery in the Philippines.

Our Results

In 2019-20, Australia supported the Philippines' COVID-19 development response by:

  • providing $4.1 million to Philippine Red Cross that established and equipped a laboratory with a 14,000 (per day) testing capacity, supplied 10,000 testing kits and 410,000 facemasks to frontline workers and a specialised ambulance
  • working with the United Nations Population Fund to provide triage facilities, hygiene and dignity kits to 3,600 women and girls, 177,000 pieces of PPE to health staff and training for 130 gender-based violence workers
  • providing $2 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross to establish new laboratories and eight isolation facilities with 1,130 beds in 53 detention facilities
  • providing emergency relief funding for women-led small and medium sized enterprises
  • supporting COVID-19 research and community development projects
  • providing grants for social enterprises for innovative COVID-19 responses
  • supporting Philippine Government agencies to implement distance learning, hygiene promotion, responses to online child exploitation, digital cash transfer solutions, disability inclusion, health waste policies and IT workforce solutions.

In addition, in 2019-20 the Australian development partnership supported peace building, education, disaster resilience, governance, child protection and inclusive growth initiatives, including:

  • humanitarian assistance for 94,035 people, including 51,203 women and girls affected by typhoons, earthquakes, a pandemic and a volcanic eruption
  • livelihood assistance for 4,295 households affected and displaced by armed conflict
  • mediation of 26 clan conflicts with 18 cases formally resolved
  • a school curriculum piloted in Marawi that changed attitudes towards using violence to resolve disputes
  • 12 new policies adopted, including rules and regulations for Universal Health Care
  • the Philippines Internet Crimes Against Children Centre was established and made operational
  • 68 Australia Awards Scholarships awarded to emerging Filipino leaders
  • enhanced targeting and grievance redress mechanisms for social protection beneficiaries
  • impact investment funds provided to two women-led enterprises and private sector investment funding leveraged for six social enterprises

Australia's development efforts are set out in Partnerships for Recovery: Australia's COVID-19 Development Response.

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