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Philippines gets P3.5 BILLION Pesos in Aid From Spain

A total of 5.6 billion pesetas or roughly P3.5 billion has been programmed by Spain through the Agencia Espanola de Cooperation Internacional (AECI) as its Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Philippines for the year 2001-2003.

Officials representing the Philippines and Spain signed in Madrid recently, the Fourth Joint Commission which spells out the details of the how the Spanish ODA will be used.

For the next three years, Spain and the Philippines agreed to concentrate efforts in the areas and sectors where both countries consider priorities in accordance with the framework of the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) 2001-2004 and the plans defined by the Directive Plan of the Cooperation Espanola.

The Spanish ODA will fund programs and projects towards poverty alleviation, sustainable environment and gender equity. This will be done through interventions directed at basic social needs (water supply, health, education, governance and civil society, food security, and emergency assistance and reconstruction) and strengthening of the economic structure (micro-credit, enterprise, agriculture and rural development, industry development and tourism).

Programs and projects funded by the ODA will concentrate in the priority areas of Mindanao, the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Luzon, Ilocus Sur, Visayas and Cebu.

Among the programs and projects covered under the Fourth Joint Commission include: the National Eye Referral Center in the Philippine General Hospital (PGH); Fight Against Tuberculosis Program; Primary Health and Food Security in Caraga and Cebu; Reproductive Health Program in Maguindanao; Water Supply Program in the Island of Camiguin and the City of Vigan; Soil Conservation and Agroforestry in Calaveria; Strengtheing the Foundations of Lasting Peace and Development in Southern Philippines.

To strengthen the countryís economic structure, the Spanish ODA is expected to carry out the following programs and projects: a micro-credit program worth 1.5B pesetas (375 million); the second phase of the Development of the Philippine Industries for the Small and Medium Scale Enterprise; the Program on the Commercial Cooperation with the Confederation Espanola de Organizaciones Empresariales (CEOE) in the Philippines; and the continue the collaboration in the field of Ecotourism in the Philippines.

Priority programs and projects under the Fourth Joint Commissionís cultural and education cooperation include: the promotion of the Spanish language; the dissemination of the Philippine-Spanish social and cultural reality; and the preservation of common historic and cultural heritage.

Activities lined up under the preservation of common historic and cultural activities include: the consolidation of the modernization program of the National Archives; the conservation and restoration of school paintings in the University of the Philippines; and the rehabilitation of the Father Burgos Museum in Vigan City.

Officials representing the Philippines were led by undersecretary Mauro Baja of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and deputy-director-general Raphael Lotilla of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). The Spanish delegation was led by AECI secretary general Rafael Rodrguez-Ponga.

The Fourth Joint Commission was formulated in accordance with the established Friendship Treaty signed by the governments of Spain and the Philippines during the official visit to the Philippines by the President of the Government of Spain Jose Maria Aznar in June 2000.

Both countries have agreed to sign the Fifth Joint Commission between the two governments on the first trimester of 2004.

SOURCE: www.neda.gov.ph/PressReleases/

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