The Canadian government on Saturday designated the Philippines as a “Country of Focus “ of its international development assistance program.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development said that the Philippines would have priority in Ottawa’s yearly aid, along with Burma, Mongolia, Burkina Faso, Benin, Congo and Jordan.
These countries were chosen based on “their real needs, their capacity to benefit from aid, and their alignment with Canadian foreign policy priorities,” said Canadian Minister Christian Paradis.
“With the launch of the Aid Effectiveness Agenda in 2009, Canada’s international assistance has been made more focused, more effective, and more accountable,” Paradis said.
The Philippines’s Department of Foreign Affairs welcomed this development citing the “excellent” bilateral relations between Manila and Ottawa.
“The special designation as a Country of Focus also holds the promise of greater two-way bilateral trade and investment flows, and the designation also manifests an alignment in foreign policy, extending to various security, economic, socio-cultural and people-to-people interests,” it added.
The DFA also took note of Canada’s “swift” support in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that devastated areas in the Visayas region.
“The Filipino people will always remember how Canada came swiftly to the aid of those affected by Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda, and how the federal government facilitated a special typhoon matching fund that has grown to over CAD 170 million,” the DFA said.
Canada, which has also played a key role in the Mindanao peace process, would help ensure the success of the implementation of the peace agreement, the DFA said in a statement.
“The announcement further illuminates the excellent bilateral relations between the Philippines and Canada, which is bolstered by strong people-to-people linkages, and highlights a strong affinity for principles and pursuits to promote prosperity and productivity, as well as freedom, peace, justice, human rights, gender empowerment, security, and the rule of law across the globe,” the DFA further said.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs looks forward to furthering our goals for inclusive and sustainable growth and development with the help of Canada,” it added.
In return for the Canadian assistance, the Philippines is expected maintain transparency in the use of funds, account for how the aid will be spent and set clear targets for the results.
“An unwavering commitment to accountability underpins all of Canada’s development programming,” Paradis noted.
“Our government is committed to delivering real and accountable results to those in need, and transparency for Canadian taxpayers. Canada is already ranked among the most transparent donors in the world. Mutual Accountability Agreements will not only increase predictability for our implementing partners, but also set clear targets for both Canada and partner countries,” he said.