I am delighted to be here to celebrate all that we have accomplished over the past five years.
MCC’s partnership with the Philippines has touched the lives of millions of people across the country thanks to the hard work and dedication of the folks here tonight.
I want to begin by thanking his Excellency President Aquino for his leadership and for his commitment to building a prosperous future for the people of the Philippines.
And I am grateful for the support this compact has received from across the Philippine government. Let me specifically recognize other key partners in the government, including:
- Department of Finance Secretary Purisima,
- Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Singson,
- Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Soliman,
- Department of Budget and Management Secretary Abad,
- Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Almendras,
- The National Economic and Development Authority,
- And all of our partners in the government.
I also want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for the many MCC friends and partners who are here with us this evening and who have helped drive the compact forward.
Thank you in particular to Ambassador Goldberg and the entire Country Team, including the incredible folks from USAID, Treasury and the Peace Corps. And thank you also to the IMF and all of our many private sector and civil society partners who collaborated on these projects.
And to Marivic Añonuevo and the amazing staff of the Millennium Challenge Account Philippines, thank you. I am so grateful for your tireless devotion to the compact. And I want to acknowledge John Polk, Burac Inanc, and the remarkable MCC team dedicated to the Philippines.
To you all, we would not be here today without your support and tremendous work.
Five years ago, MCC and the Government of the Philippines launched an ambitious partnership to unlock economic growth and lift people out of poverty. President Aquino made it clear that inclusive, widely shared economic growth was a priority, and MCC and the government had spent more than two rigorous years shaping a compact that would tap into the country’s enormous economic potential.
And thanks to the unwavering commitment of those gathered here today, we have converted a plan on paper into tangible and meaningful investments that will benefit millions of Filipinos. And this was done with the highest levels of integrity and transparency.
Consider all that we have accomplished.
First, MCC and the government rehabilitated more than 200 kilometers of a major road on Samar Island, vastly improving transportation throughout the region. The road is making it safer for children to get to school. It is making it easier for workers to travel to jobs. And it is now more efficient for businesses to get their products to market.
Second, MCC—with support from the IMF—played an important role in helping the government nearly double annual revenue collections over the last five years.
Two specific projects have generated more than $300 million in additional tax revenue since 2013. These are funds that the government can put towards infrastructure projects and crucial services for the Filipino people.
Third, MCC’s support for the Kalahi-CIDSS community-led development project expanded funding to nearly 4,000 small-scale infrastructure projects across the country. That is more than one thousand projects than initially expected.
And we have seen time and again that with just a little bit of seed funding, barangays across the country are taking development into their own hands and strengthening their own participation in local decision-making.
The success stories from these communities are a testament to the deep impact we can have when we push the boundaries of smart, community-led development.
It is no wonder that members of the Kalahi-CIDSS program were invited to the United Nations last September to share with the world the incredible work that is happening across the Philippines.
It wasn’t just what we accomplished, but how we accomplished it. Many of the cross-cutting interventions that set these programs apart will have a deep and lasting impact.
These measures, for example, helped empower women and connect them to jobs. They helped combat and prevent human trafficking along Philippine roads. And they helped integrate world class construction standards to make roads and other infrastructure more resilient to climate change.
The past five years have not been without their challenges. In 2013, Typhoon Yolanda brought unprecedented tragedy.
But the Filipino people demonstrated a remarkable resiliency, and I am proud that MCC could be there to work alongside the people as they lay the foundations for a stronger future.
As we look ahead, it is clear that this is an exciting time for the Philippines. Rapid and consistent economic growth over the past decade have confirmed that the Philippines has the ingredients for widely shared prosperity.
That is why we are delighted to partner with the Philippines on a second compact focused on addressing market failures in the rural economy.
MCC and the Government of Philippines – under the leadership of Dr. Noel de Dios – are now working to define both the geographic focus for possible MCC investments as well as the specific value chains that would most benefit.
Together, our partnership on the second MCC compact can help address the issues of agricultural competitiveness and productivity.
So, tonight is a celebration of all we have accomplished together.
But it is also another milestone in the special relationship between the people of the United States and the Philippines in cementing our ongoing partnership and commitment to poverty reduction through economic growth.
Congratulations on a job well done!