Foreign aid: Be careful what you wish for

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The Millennium Challenge Corp, a US-led agency that has previously awarded substantial grants for infrastructure projects to the Philippines has deferred a vote on giving more money to the country, citing rule of law issues.

Duterte has repeatedly said that he wants to cut ties with the US which has been very critical of his total disregard for human rights throughout his administration.

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A part of this fiery rhetoric included statements that both the EU and the US could cut their aid because the Philippines didn’t need it.

MCC gave the country $434 million to finance three major projects in 2011. The goal of the grants was to finance three separate projects focused on strengthening revenue collection, strengthening poor communities and developing national roads.

The projects ran for five years and the Philippines was re-selected as being eligible to develop new projects for a new grant. MCC announced last October that this next round of funding would focus on boosting the agriculture sector as well as competitiveness.

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This second program would have been implemented between 2017 and 2022.

In order for a country to be eligible for funding, the MCC evaluates each jurisdiction under a range of metrics. These are focused on economic freedom, investment of people and the rule of law.

The firebrand president has come under attack for his attitudes toward foreign aid. On the one hand saying that he didn’t care for the aid given freely in one breath and accepting billions of dollars in loans and credit from the Chinese in the next.

This is the first of what is likely to be a number of lessons for the president in considering what you say before you say it.

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