Deputy Director-General Rolando G. Tungpalan
Signing of the Covering Note of the EU Multi Annual Indicative Programme 2014-2020 and the Launching of the 2nd Edition of the Joint- EU Member States Publication on EU Development Assistance to the Philippines
Shangri-La Hotel Makati
13 January 2015
His Excellency Ambassador Guy Ledoux, the Honorable Ambassadors of the European Union Member States, development partners, my colleagues in government, members of the press, guests, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
On behalf of Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, allow me to express our sincerest gratitude to the EU and its member states, as we acknowledge in today’s signing, the decision of the EU to adopt a Multi-Annual Indicative Programme to fund cooperation activities in the Philippines for 2014-2020.
Today’s signing ceremony is reflective of the strong partnership between the Philippines and the European Union in pursuit of creating better lives for Filipinos. The increase in EU assistance to the Philippines to €325 million from €130 million for the next 6 years is also highly reflective of EU’s continued commitment to support the Philippine government’s efforts to significantly reduce poverty mainly through massive generation of quality employment; sustain the gains from governance reform; and to lay the groundwork for a more significant reduction of poverty.
We would also like to thank the EU for first ensuring the consistency of its development assistance with the priorities reflected in the Midterm Update of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016. This includes EU’s assistance and support to key programs in the areas of access to sustainable energy, job creation, and the strengthening of the rule of law.
The Philippines and EU have long enjoyed a mutually-beneficial partnership. The EU ranked as the 4th largest trading partner of the Philippines, with a US$ 12.8 billion-worth of total trade in 2013. Also, Philippine exports to EU registered a double-digit growth in 2013. And with the recent decision of the European Parliament to grant the Philippines a GSP+ or a Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus status, a significant increase in exports to the EU is expected. This milestone made the Philippines the 14th beneficiary country to be granted GSP+ status by the EU and the only one in the ASEAN region.
Therefore, I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the EU on the Launching of the 2nd Edition of the Joint EU-Member States Publication on European Union Development Assistance to the Philippines. This publication reflects the increase of the EU’s official development assistance to the country and highlights its efforts in relation to the Peace Process in Mindanao and contributions to the recovery of Typhoon Yolanda-affected areas. With the launching of the joint publication, the Philippines – EU partnership will surely be further strengthened through the showcasing of its contribution to the achievement of the various priorities of the PDP. This will in turn raise the public’s awareness of EU’s development assistance to the Philippines.
Again, we thank the EU and its member states for being one with us in our pursuit of sustaining high and inclusive growth.