OTTAWA, CANADA— The Philippines expects greater opportunities to strengthen its poverty reduction programs and promote broad-based growth while enhancing its diplomatic affairs and economic ties with Canada with the signing of the Mutual Accountability Framework (MAF) between the governments of the Philippines and Canada, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“Linking development priorities and goals between the Philippine and Canadian governments will help ensure sustainability of strategies under the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, which have already produced significant results for the Philippine economy,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

The NEDA Director-General signed the MAF with Canada in behalf of the Philippine government on May 8, 2015 during President Benigno S. Aquino III’s three-day state visit in the country. This is the third MAF that Canada has signed with another government and the first that it has signed with an Asian country. The other two MAFs were with Senegal and Ghana. 

The Philippines-Canada MAF’s objective is to establish the shared desire between the Philippine and Canadian governments to support broad-based and sustainable economic growth. This will be done through creating available resources in support of programs, projects, and activities that will create employment, significantly reduce vulnerabilities to poverty, and improve the quality of life of all Filipinos.

The framework seeks to program an annual indicative amount for Canada’s bilateral development assistance to the Philippines worth CAD$12 million for fiscal year (FY) 2015-2016, CAD$15 million in FY 2016-2017, CAD$17 million in 2017-2018, and CAD$20 million annually in FY 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.

“The continuing support of Canada is very important in our effort to make growth inclusive and disaster-resilient and to deepen good governance reforms,” Balisacan said.

The MAF is expected to contribute to a more disaster-resilient and gender-responsive enabling environment at national and sub-national levels of government. It also intends to increase economic opportunities for low-skilled workers, micro-entrepreneurs and smallholder farmers, and especially on youth, women, and marginalized groups.

Also, the mutual commitments in the MAF will level the expectations of both governments, particularly on the development cooperation processes, and thus may address specific programmatic and governance concerns.  These will further increase transparency and accountability for results of Philippines-Canada development cooperation programs.

On June 27, 2014, the Canadian government elevated the Philippines as “Country of Focus” in its bilateral programming towards eradicating global poverty. As of December 2014, Canada has an active or ongoing Official Development Assistance portfolio of US$111.95 million, which are all grants, for 47 projects in the Philippines.