Monday, February 1, 2010
OBAMA AID BUDGET FOR RP: MORE ECONOMIC, LESS MILITARY HELP
Total American aid to the Philippines is projected to increase slightly, giving more emphasis on development assistance and less on beefing up the Philippine military, according to President Obama’s budget for the fiscal year until September 30, 2011.
The State Department’s Foreign Operations budget showed total assistance to the Philippines increasing from $114.7 million in 2008 to $124.3 million in 2010 (estimated).
Development Assistance and the Economic Support Fund (ESF) totaled $55.0 million 2008. This is projected to grow to $71.3 million, although all of it will be in Development Assistance.
Foreign Military Financing is projected to decrease from $27.7 million in 2008 to $15.6 million.
The State Department had similarly recommended a reduction in military aid in 2008-09 but lobbying by Philippine officials convinced the Congress to restore the cut, so the Philippines was actually allocated $32 million last year, according to State Department documents.
However, human rights concerns, particularly over unsolved extrajudicial killings allegedly perpetrated by members of the police and military continued to hound the government, prompting Congress to attach a caveat to $2 million of the total military aid on a State Department certification the Philippines was not using US military aid to suppress legitimate political dissent.
The 2010 budget provides higher amounts for International Military Education & Training (from $1.5 million to $2 million); Non-proliferation and Anti-Terrorism programs (from $4.6 million to $5.6 million); International Narcotics Control & Law Enforcement (from $794,000 to $2.4 million).
US Agency for International Development (USAID) budget is also projected to increase from nearly $25 million in 2008 to $32.5 million).
These amounts have to be approved by both chambers of Congress.
President Obama’s $3.83 trillion budget is expected to face tough sailing in Congress as the American public grows weary of looming massive deficits that’s estimated to reach $1.56 trillion in 2010.