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Napahiya? PH withdraws from Millennium Challenge

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After receiving poor marks from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) on controlling corruption and the rule of law, the Philippines has decided to withdraw its second application to the foreign aid body to focus on the rehabilitation of Marawi City.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced on Tuesday (December 19) that the Philippines will no longer participate in the Millennium Challenge.

“It was deemed that for the time being, we will withdraw our application for the second cycle and we will focus instead on the rebuilding of Marawi,” Roque said in a press briefing.

In November, the Philippines flunked in the MCC’s Control of Corruption indicator, which a country has to pass in order to receive assistance from the US foreign aid agency.

The country also received poor marks in the Rule of Law, in the heels of a bloody drug war which has caught the attention of the international community.

Roque, however, said the Philippines’ low scores from the MCC has nothing to do with its withdrawal of its application for the second compact.

“It’s just we have to earmark funds also because these are projects with counterpart funds and of course, this will also focus on previously identified projects and we have decided that our resources and our priority will be the rebuilding of Marawi for the time being,” Roque said.

Despite the Philippines’ withdrawal from the Millennium Challenge, Roque said the government still hopes to get aid from the US for rebuilding Marawi City.

Roque said the government also hopes that its withdrawal from the second round of the Millennium Challenge will not affect its future applications.

“We are confident that the US government fully understands the decision to reallocate our funding priority for this year and that this will not, in any way, adversely impact our eligibility for another round of compact assistance in the future,” he said.

Aside from controlling corruption and the rule of law, the Philippines also received low scores from the MCC in Gender in the Economy (13%), Access to Credit (13%), Business Start-Up (43%), Health Expenditures (13%) and Immunization Rates (83.0).