PROGRAMS are already in place to benefit from the Philippines’ newly approved five-year Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) Compact proposal for 2010 to 2014, Malacañang said Saturday.
Also, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda downplayed speculations that the Aquino government is feeling pressure from increased expectations following the approval.
“There are programs in place. There is the modernization of the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) under a no-nonsense commissioner. The BIR and Bureau of Customs are filing charges against tax evaders and smugglers every week. This shows the sincerity of the Aquino administration to plug leakages in agencies and remove corruption from within,” Lacierda said on government-run dzRB radio.
He added that the government has several poverty alleviation programs in place, being implemented by agencies led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
The Palace aide said the approval of the MCA Compact proposal shows the US’ confidence towards the new administration. “This shows their confidence in the reforms introduced by the Aquino administration against corruption and poverty.”
On the other hand, he brushed off speculations that Aquino may feel the pressure from the “overwhelming confidence” of the US in its fight against corruption and poverty.
“Not so much the pressure, more of the confidence. The US government sees the sincerity of the Aquino administration (which) is determined to really eradicate corruption and poverty by way of poverty alleviation program,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lacierda said the government will continue to look into unusually large perks and bonuses in other agencies, after reports of these are starting to come out.
Earlier reports indicated perks in agencies such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Land Bank of the Philippines, and Social Security System.
In his State of the Nation Address last July 26, President Aquino had questioned the big perks received by officials of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System.
“This is coming out only now because the past administration left the agencies to do what they want to the prejudice of taxpayers,” Lacierda said.
On Friday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo announced that the US Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) Board of Directors unanimously approved the Philippines MCA proposal.
The Compact involves the allocation of US$434 million to fund three projects.
These include the Secondary National Road Development (SNRD) project, Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan (Linking Arms to Poverty)-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), and the Revenue Administration Reform Project (RARP).
Promoting a policy performance-based paradigm that rewards good governance, the MCC has granted over $7 billion to 20 Compact partner countries.
Its MCA program is designed to maximize each dollar invested for poverty reduction and economic growth. (JMR/Sunnex)