The Australian government will provide the Philippines with about AUD 85 million (roughly P3.12 billion) in official development assistance for 2017-2018.
According to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, bulk or 45.2 percent of Australian aid budget for the Philippines will go to education sector at AUD 38.4 million, followed by infrastructure and trade cornering 15.1 percent at AUD 12.9 million.
Building resilience will receive AUD 10.4 million in ODA; agriculture, fisheries and water at AUD 7 million; general development support at AUD 1.5 million; and health at AUD 1 million.
“Our economic partnership with the Philippines will focus all elements of our trade, investment and aid initiatives working together to promote growth,” the DFAT said.
Australian development support to the Philippines will focus on implementation of the Trade and Inclusive Economic Growth Facility until 2025.
The Facility is designed to help the Philippines achieve sustained inclusive economic growth by reducing barriers to selected trade and investment flows; reducing the cost of doing business; and empowering women and poor and vulnerable communities through improved participation in the economy.
It is also aimed at strengthening government institutions so they can better design and implement policy and deliver services.
Australia will also continue engagement in infrastructure through the strengthening Philippine public private partnerships program.
In 2017-2018, the Australian aid program will also prioritize work with the Philippine government to build capacity to implement reforms with targeted support through the Coalitions for Change Program.
The program will engage in a number of new reform areas that will support the 10-point Socio-Economic Reform Agenda of the Duterte administration.
Moreover, the Australian ODA for the Philippines will implement in the next 10 years the Education Pathways to Peace in Conflict-Affected Areas of Mindanao Program, which aimed to contribute to “resilience, stability, peace and prosperity in Mindanao” by improving the quality of the education system.
“Australia’s aid will align with the priorities of the Philippines government which is seeking to put the country on the path of accelerated and inclusive development,” DFAT said.
The Philippines has experienced robust economic growth in recent years, reaching 6.8 percent in 2016 —the fastest growing economy in Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
“A more prosperous, inclusive and open economy will not only benefit Filipinos, but also allow both nations to pursue a mature economic partnership,” it added.
The Philippines is one of Australia’s longest-standing bilateral relationships.
Australia is home to more than 300,000 people of Filipino heritage, with over 10,000 Filipino students enrolled in Australian universities and vocational institutions in 2016.