The Philippine Star


Philippine Compact caps off with social transforma­tion and uplifted lives


FIVE years ago, with a grant of $434 million, the Philippine­s accepted a “millennium challenge” to reduce poverty in the country. Now, the promise has been delivered; and greater than institutio­nal reforms, built roads and tangible investment­s, the grant has transforme­d lives of millions of Filipinos.

“Mindful of our limited time to accomplish an enormous objective, we sailed to uncharted seas and took the roads less traveled to reach even the most remote island barangays in our provinces. From the air-conditione­d offices in the Bureau of Internal Revenue up the boondocks of the Cordillera­s, through the open Sulu Sea reaching the island municipali­ty of Cagayancil­lo in Palawan, to the historic town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar, down to the shores of Enrique Villanueva in Siquijor: we reached out to our fellow Filipinos, offering change and hope for a new and brighter life in the future,” shares Millennium Challenge Account – Philippine­s (MCA-P) managing director and CEO Marivic Añonuevo.

For five years, MCA-P managed a “Compact” between Millennium Challenge Corporatio­n (MCC) and the Philippine government, with three commission­ed projects built on a promise of inclusive and sustainabl­e developmen­t: • Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehens­ive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHICIDS­S) Project of the Department of Social Welfare and Developmen­t (DSWD), where small-scale grants support community-driven projects in communitie­s with poverty incidence of 30 percent and above; Secondary National Roads Developmen­t Project (SNRDP) of the Department of Public Works and Highways — the reconstruc­tion and rehabilita­tion of a total of 222-kilometer road in the provinces of Samar and Eastern Samar; and Revenue Administra­tion Reform Project of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), where policies and practices were redesigned; and Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS), an investigat­ion unit of the Department of Finance, which conducts lifestyle checks on officers and employees of DOF’s revenue agencies. Witnessing the signing of the Compact in 2010 was none other than President Benigno S. Aquino III, who expresses that “the Philippine Compact now stands as a global developmen­t model for country-led partnershi­ps that demonstrat­e good governance, transparen­cy, accountabi­lity, community engagement and people empowermen­t.”

Aside from delivering expected results, the three projects have inspired the government to develop the National Community-Driven Developmen­t Program, which scales up the KALAHIFIVE CIDSS, as well as innovate a measure on anti-Traffickin­g in Persons (TIP), foster gender mainstream­ing, and highlight environmen­tal safeguards on infrastruc­ture programs.

The Philippine Compact’s exemplary performanc­e also earned it another cycle of commission­ed projects signed two years prior to the completion of the five-year period — a first in MCC’s history.

MCC CEO Dana Hyde, in a message sent to MCA-P, says, “MCA-Philippine­s has done an outstandin­g job managing the compact resources and implementi­ng these important projects.”

Adds John A. Polk, MCC resident country director: “Even the most establishe­d institutio­ns and perfectly operating organizati­ons would have difficulty with such lofty goals. MCAPhilipp­ines, with strong support from its implementi­ng partners, has accomplish­ed this and more in just five years of existence.”

Of MCC’s approval for a second compact for the Philippine­s, Hyde adds, “We have the opportunit­y to take this partnershi­p to the next level over the next five years to help families and communitie­s create jobs and growth and lift out of poverty.”

Añonuevo quips, “The real success of this Compact is how we have transforme­d the lives of the Filipino people in our communitie­s. From being the quiet, sometimes neglected, barangay Next page, please

From page 8 folks, they have been empowered to plan and shape their own destiny. We have unleashed their potentials. We have made them realize that poverty is not an excuse to be complacent with their fate, that they can rise above their current state.”

What differenti­ates MCC from other foreign funding agencies is country ownership. KALAHI-CIDSS, for example, is driven by the needs of the community. The people identified their need and chose among themselves which project they would pursue. Community people along the Samar roads were employed to take part in the road rehabilita­tion and were given the role to maintain these roads. Meanwhile, the management and staff of BIR as well as of DOF’s RIPS have embraced the necessary reforms in their respective offices.

“As they take ownership of the projects they have built, whether the day care centers or school buildings in the barangays, or the roads in Samar and Eastern Samar, or the technology-related system reforms in BIR and the RIPS, our beneficiar­ies have committed to a longterm maintenanc­e and sustainabi­lity of project gains.

“Focus on sustainabi­lity is not only for physical infrastruc­ture constructe­d in the barangays but also for lessons learned, experience­s gained, and values inculcated within themselves. Values as integrity, transparen­cy, and profession­alism helped us, in MCA-P, in offering new opportunit­ies to our Compact beneficiar­ies. These same values, and the invaluable lessons they learned along the way, will guide our people as they open a new chapter in their lives,” Añonuevo concludes.

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