US Grants $ 21 M to Fight Corruption; Anti-Graft, Collection Agencies to Use Fund Kenney Welcomes GMA's Release of P1-B Counterpart Fund for Drive
Byline: DAVID CAGAHASTIAN
The Philippines and the United States formally signed yesterday a grant agreement under the US government's Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) program that would provide $ 21 million for the Arroyo administration's campaign against graft and corruption.
President Arroyo witnessed the signing of the grant agreement which will provide a $ 21 million funding in the next two years for government agencies involved in the strengthened anti-corruption campaign, particularly revenue collection agencies like the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BoC), and anti-graft national agencies like the Office of the Ombudsman and the Presidential Anti-Graft Commission (PAGC).
Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Vice President for Accountability Charles Sethness said the $ 21 million grant from the US government will be used to fund researches on the integrity of revenue officials and the trends in revenue collections in the country.
"Working on an issue that is complicated and embedded like this requires lots of efforts to be undertaken. This is going to address some critical research in terms of integrity of officials, increase in revenue collections both in the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Internal Revenue. It will also help the Office of the Ombudsman in moving things forward," Sethness said.
Sethness, along with US Ambassador to Manila Kristie Kenney, signed the agreement on behalf of the US government, while Department of Finance (DoF) Secretary Margarito Teves signed it for the Philippines.
Kenney said the disbursement and use of the $ 21 million grant will be closely coordinated with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to ensure that the targets for the anti-corruption campaign are achieved.
"What we do is work closely with the Secretary of Finance and his team. USAID at the embassy will be in charge of doing that. We will watch out for the achievement of the targets and our goals. The key is to monitor every step of this and make sure it goes to just where it needs to go, and that it is done right," Kenney said. …