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Trump or Biden? PH to reach out to US for aid depending on winner

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 04:32 AM September 12, 2020

The outcome of the US elections in November will be a major factor when the Philippines finally decides if it will avail itself of a fresh grant from Millennium Challenge Corp. (MCC), which once scuttled a promised aid for major infra and poverty-reduction projects after questioning President Duterte’s war on drugs.

“We are awaiting developments in the US political landscape, in particular, results of the US presidential elections, before proceeding with the decision to apply or not,” Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven told the Inquirer.

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After the first grant—costing $434 million—ended in May 2016, the US-based aid agency deferred making a decision for a second grant as it subjected the Philippines to “a further review of concerns around rule of law and civil liberties.” The then US president, Barack Obama, a Democrat, had been critical of President Duterte’s war on drugs.

Further straining diplomatic ties with the United States, Mr. Duterte also declared an “independent” foreign policy that favored closer relations with Japan, Russia and lastly, China, which is currently embroiled in a trade war with the United States.

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Finally in 2017, the Philippines withdrew from the planned second MCC grant, which was supposed to be earmarked for roads along the coast of Eastern Luzon.

The Duterte administration is now on friendlier terms with the administration of US President Donald Trump, who is running for reelection as the Republican party candidate.

Based on a report dated Sept. 8, the MCC listed the Philippines as one of 63 countries eligible for a new compact for fiscal year 2021.

The Philippines was included in the low-income category alongside 59 other nations—countries with gross national income per capita below $4,045.

Based on MCC’s scorecard for fiscal year 2020, however, the country passed only 12 indicators while flunking eight.

The Philippines made it in: fiscal policy, inflation, regulatory quality, trade policy, gender in the economy, and land rights and access (in the area of “economic freedom”); political rights, civil liberties, and government effectiveness (in “ruling justly”); and natural resource protection, girls’ secondary education enrollment rate, and child health (in “investing in people”).

Meantime, the country garnered red marks in eight indicators: access to credit and business start-up (in “economic freedom”); control of corruption, rule of law, and freedom of information (in “ruling justly”); and health expenditures, primary education expenditures, and immunization rates (in “investing in people”).

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TAGS: Donald Trump, Joe Biden, US aid
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