The AECID Bilateral Cooperation Program in the Philippines
The current Country Partnership Framework (MAP) with the Philippines reflects the priorities of the Spanish Cooperation in the country for the period 2014-2017, formulated in accordance with the IV Spanish Cooperation Master Plan and the Philippine national planning document, Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016. This general cooperation framework has been extended during several years of transition until the forthcoming signing of a new Partnership Framework, which will come into force soon.
The following is a summary of the ongoing interventions grouped according to the strategic orientations and lines of action that articulate the current MAP 2014-2017. Subsequently, the main strategic lines that will define the bilateral cooperation framework in the coming years are identified, whose main interventions will aim to consolidate the results achieved in priority areas that largely remain unchanged while addressing the new development challenges facing the country.
Strategic orientation 1: Consolidate democratic processes and the Rule of Law
The Spanish Cooperation supports the Philippines in the field of democratic governance, based on a human rights approach and with a dual purpose: to improve the democratic institutions and to strengthen civil society. Within this general strategic orientation, the cooperation focusses on two main lines of action:
Line of Action «Strengthening the structure and management systems of the public sector».
This line of action is a cross-cutting issue in virtually all interventions. However, in relation to the consolidation of public policies for gender equality and the empowerment of women, an intervention carried out with the Philippine Commission of Women (PCW) from 2011 to 2016 can be highlighted: the project Institutional strengthening and economic empowerment with a gender perspective, which includes the implementation of the Magna Carta in support of gender mainstreaming in national policies, public institutions and Local Government Units.
Line of Action «Work for the Rule of Law and the guarantee of Human Rights».
Among the bilateral projects carried out in the field of Human Rights, the FORTALEZA project, Institutional strengthening of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) project, implemented between 2011 and 2016, contributed to improving the capabilities of the CHR in its mandate as a supervisor and guarantor of human rights as well as to providing capacity-building to institutions and citizens involved in this area. Within the framework of this project, the KaSaMa initiative was created, a forum promoted by international donors aiming at supporting human rights dialogue in the Philippines and civil society organizations involved in this field.
Based on the experience of the Spanish Cooperation in supporting the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines, the European Union granted AECID, through a Delegated Cooperation agreement, resources for the implementation of GOJUST-Human Rights project, the 4th component of its Justice Governance Program -GOJUST-, which is currently being carried out with a total budget of € 7M (€ 5M EU and € 2M AECID). The project has a national subcomponent, whose implementing partner is the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and a regional one, co-executed by the Regional Human Rights Commission of the Autonomous Region of the Muslim Mindanao (RHRC).
In support of the country’s peace initiatives, AECID initiated a multiannual project in 2011 with the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process (OPAPP), entitled Peacebuilding and Development in Local Government Units in the Philippines, completed in June 2016. The project supported the PAMANA initiative of the Philippine government: resilient communities in conflict-affected areas. In a second phase of this continued support for the OPAPP strategy, a new project is being implemented: Inclusive development for all. Consolidate the benefits of peace in communities affected by the armed conflicts in the Philippines.
Likewise, since 2017, the mechanism of the Mindanao Trust Fund, an international donor financial mechanism with OPAPP under the direction of the World Bank, is being indirectly involved for the implementation of development projects in communities affected by the peace agreement signed between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government of the Philippines.
Other on-going interventions that complement the actions on peacebuilding are: the project Promoting the participation of indigenous women for peace and development, in collaboration with CARRHIL; the creation of an Alliance of municipalities for peace and governance in Western Basilan, Mindanao, and intervention coordinated by the Institute for Autonomy and Governance; and a transitional justice support project in the Bangsamoro region, implemented by CBCS, a consortium of social organizations.
Strategic orientation 2: Reduce inequalities and vulnerability to poverty and extreme crises
Continuing the disaster prevention and preparedness projects supported by AECID over the last ten years in several provinces of the Philippines, a line of action on vulnerability prevention was adopted as a priority in the current MAP:
Line of Action «Prevention policies as the best tool in the fight against vulnerability».
The DILG Local Government Academy has been supported in the implementation of a Capacity development project for disaster risk reduction, focusing on coastal and environmentally depleted areas, specifically in three priority provinces for the Philippine System for the Prevention of Disasters.
With the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the community development and disaster risk reduction project entitled Capacity development for 1000 is under implementation.
Additionally, the AECID Office of Humanitarian Action has supported the Philippine Department of Health (DoH) with technical assistance and training for its staff to strengthen disaster preparedness and emergency response capacity. Likewise, the Institute of Renewable and Technological Energies of the Canary Islands has developed a project aimed at strengthening the volcanic early warning system in the Philippines through innovative geochemical methodologies, implemented in cooperation with the National Institute of Geological Sciences of the University of the Philippines.
Strategic orientation 7: Respond to humanitarian crises with quality
The Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world in the face of natural disasters. That is why the country has been one of the main recipients of Spanish emergency aid since the beginning of cooperation with AECID. For this reason, Humanitarian Action continues to be considered as a strategic intervention orientation in the current bilateral cooperation framework.
Other interventions in strategic sectors
With regard to Education sector, AECID has supported the Department of Education (DepEd) of the Philippines through the project Expanding the educational offer of the Filipino population, an intervention aimed at the reintroduction of Spanish language in secondary education, in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2012 between the DepEd and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Spain and the Cervantes Institute.
Additionally, since 2008 AECID has been supporting a Workshop School project, which provides technical training to young people with limited economic resources and at risk of social exclusion, in professions related to the rehabilitation and preservation of the cultural heritage of the Philippines.