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12/05/2009: Amb. Gaa Welcomes Increased Amounts for RP in Budget Submitted by Pres. Obama to Congress

12 May 2009 - Ambassador Willy C. Gaa today welcomed the increased amounts dedicated to the Philippines in the proposed 2010 budget submitted by President Barack Obama to the US Congress last May 7.

"We welcome the increased amounts for the Philippines in the proposed 2010 budget submitted by President Barack Obama to the US Congress," Ambassador Gaa stated.

According to Ambassador Gaa, "the total budget proposed for the Philippines includes the annually determined United States development and security assistance, as well as funds for the Filipino Veterans Equity Fund, and a proposed amount for the proposed Philippine Compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation."

In terms of Development Assistance, it is second only to Indonesia globally. It also receives the highest level of International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds in East Asia and the Pacific and the 12th biggest share of U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) in the world.

Ambassador Gaa pointed out that the 2010 request by the White House for foreign assistance to the Philippines shows a substantial increase from its 2009 request.

"There has been an increase of over $24 million in the 2010 request compared to the 2009 request," Ambassador Gaa said.

The total amount of assistance requested by the Obama Administration that Congress appropriate for the Philippines for 2010 increased by US$24.1 million -- from $94.6 million requested for 2009 to $118.7 million for FY2010, the Ambassador explained.

"We are also very pleased to note that funding for the benefits of Filipino World War II veterans remain intact for 2010," Ambassador Gaa emphasized, saying "the amount of US$198 million to ensure payment of the benefits of Filipino World War II veterans has been included in the 2010 request under the Filipino Veterans Equity Compensation Fund."

With regard to the MCC, Ambassador Gaa pointed out that the budget 2010 request contains a substantial amount specifically for a possible Compact Agreement with the Philippines.

"The budget request for MCC for FY 2010 is based on an estimate of the funds needed to conclude MCC compacts with three countries that include the Philippines," Ambassador Gaa said. "The 2010 budget proposal is in anticipation of an possible compact agreement in the amount of $350 million," the Ambassador added.

"We are now at a crucial stage in the compact development process and we are all working hard to conclude an MCC compact agreement," Ambassador Gaa said.

The considerable increase in overall assistance requested for the Philippines gains added significance given the intense pressures on the Obama Administration’s budget processes by the challenges posed by the national and global economy, according to Ambassador Gaa.

"We deeply appreciate the increases in the budget request for the Philippines as we fully understand and appreciate the challenges and strains on the American budget process at this time," Ambassador Gaa said.

"The Obama Administration’s increased requests to Congress for foreign assistance to the Philippines reflect its appreciation and the value it gives to the strategic partnership between our two countries," Ambassador Gaa said.

"These increases, in the face of many other demands on the US budget,  manifests the continuing commitment of the United States to strengthening our partnership and to fully supporting the Philippines in its own efforts behind our common goals of promoting greater peace and development in our country and our region," Ambassador Gaa added. END.