India, Philippines commence bilateral development cooperation; agreement for implementation of Indian grant-funded projects in the Philippines signed
An agreement between the Government of India and the Government of Philippines regarding Indian grant assistance for implementation of Quick Impact Projects (QIP) was signed recently.
The agreement was signed by H.E. Shambhu S. Kumaran, Ambassador of India to the Philippines and Hon. Benjamin C. Abalos, Jr. Secretary, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) of the Philippines. The signing ceremony held at Cape Crame, Quezon City was witnessed by the senior officials from the Departments of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and Finance (DoF) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and Embassy of India.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Kumaran described the agreement as a milestone in the bilateral relationship, as it will mark the beginning of new phase in the people-centric partnership between two democracies in the Indo-Pacific region. This agreement will provide a legal framework for bringing India’s rich and varied development experience to the Philippines, Ambassador Kumaran added. He underlined that the choice of QIPs would be based on the priorities of the Philippines Government and noted in this context that Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. had identified several focus areas such as agriculture, health, education etc. Ambassador Kumaran stated that in all these sectors, India’s recent successes in digital technology driven developmental experience could be introduced to the Philippines through the QIPs.
On behalf of the Government of the Philippines, Secretary Abalos thanked the Government of India for the grant funding offered through QIPs, and noted such developmental support was the first of its kind for the DILG. Secretary Abalos expressed confidence that the QIPs would support development efforts of local government units (LGUs) across the Philippines, and reinforce ongoing related efforts of the department. He hoped that implementation of the QIPs would lead to many success stories in the Philippines leading to meaningful changes in the lives of people.
The agreement provides an enabling framework for facilitating Indian grant assistance to implement small projects for socio-economic development in the Philippines, which would include, but not be limited to, creation or improvement of both social infrastructure (such as education, health, sanitation, community development, etc.) and physical infrastructure (such as roads, local community centers etc). Each project, with an indicative value of about US$ 50,000, would be focussed in implementation and quick in creating beneficial impact on the local communities in different provinces/cities across the Philippines. The agreement will come into force after completion of requisite internal formalities by both the sides.
A Joint Project Selection Committee comprising of representatives from both governments will be set up, which would undertake call for project proposals; setting up of criteria; appraisal of project proposals; provision of grant; and monitoring of project implementation.
The signing of this agreement is a testimony of the growing people-to-people ties and the commitment of both governments to work towards a stronger developmental partnership between India and the Philippines.
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