EU extending P2-B grant for various projects

Posted on February 01, 2012

THE EUROPEAN Union is extending P2 billion worth of grants to the Philippines for different projects this year, an official said yesterday.

Hans Farnhammer, first secretary and head of development cooperation of the Delegation of the EU to the Philippines, told reporters that the funding will support the administration’s good governance thrust, among others.

“We will start this year three projects on good governance. For the Aquino administration, their overall slogan is to strengthen good governance and to fight corruption,” he said on the sidelines of the launch of the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) electronic portal at the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel yesterday.

He said the EU would be providing P600 million for a project on good governance to be implemented by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, P450 million will be earmarked for a public finance management project with the Department of Budget and Management, and P200 million will be spent for a migration management project which will involve developing a migration plan and statistics with the National Economic and Development Authority.

Apart from the three good governance projects, he said the EU will also start a project on environmental protection and at the same time continue to support projects on the peace process and other development assistance for Mindanao.

The EU, he added, is also set to start the third phase of the Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) program, which aims to enhance the capacity of selected government agencies in the country for deeper integration into world trade.

The grant is on top of the P450 million for the third tranche of a trade facilitation program which will start this year and run over a four-year period.

“For this year, we have agreed on funding the third TRTA... It is about P450 million,” he said.

He said the third phase will cover new activities with agencies not involved in the previous program such as the Department of Justice.

“It (third phase) will start in 2012 in the third quarter. It will run for four years,” he said.

The EU, he said, provided P350 million for the second phase of the TRTA, which started in 2008 and will conclude this year.

He said the Agriculture department’s SPS e-portal launched yesterday, was undertaken under phase two of the TRTA.

Speaking at the launch, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala said the e-portal which will provide access on food safety regulations will help enhance the competitiveness of the agriculture and fisheries sector.

The SPS e-portal, he said, seeks to create and heighten awareness, understanding, and appreciation of SPS principles and measures, particularly their implications on the trade of agricultural products.

“The DA (Department of Agriculture) SPS e-portal... is a tool which we hope all stakeholders from both the government and the private industries will make use of,” he said.

For his part, EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said in the same event that the e-portal is seen to increase trade as it would allow for greater transparency on food safety regulations.

“This is good for Philippine consumers and consumers of Philippine food worldwide. Aligning to international standards will improve the access of Philippine food exports to markets abroad,” he said.

Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo R. Serrano said in the same event that the portal also aids in understanding food regulatory issuances with different bureaus having their own issuances.

“The portal provides a very convenient resource for the public. Everything is online so it is easier to find the issuances,” he said. -- Louella D. Desiderio