The Philippines government is giving away some $300 million in aid to a handful of small- and medium-sized countries that are struggling with budget shortfalls, a top official said Tuesday.
The cash will be distributed through a “civic-building program” that will help fund the development of the nation’s infrastructure and the development and implementation of the National Development Plan, said Public Works Secretary Antonio L. Caputo in a speech at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
“These are not ordinary times.
They are not a normal country,” Caputo said, adding that he has directed officials to give out $100 million in loans to these countries.
“The Philippines is the only one among the top 50 countries that has not received this money.
We need to help these countries that have to make tough choices.”
Caputo’s speech comes as President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration have been under fire for the alleged extrajudicial killings of alleged drug dealers.
A new Philippine commission on extrajudicial executions is set to start investigating the cases in coming days, but Duterte has repeatedly insisted that he is not guilty.
His government says the killings were justified, saying it has “nothing to do with politics” and is done to stop drugs.
The government also said the killings took place in a war-torn country that was “not a paradise.”
The Philippine government has been criticized for its slow response to the humanitarian crisis in the country, which has a population of roughly 10 million.
About a million people are believed to be in need of food aid and more than 1.5 million have been displaced due to a lack of water.
The Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has said it will spend $1.4 billion this year to help people who need aid in the next few months, with the bulk of the funds coming from the government’s social security fund.
In April, the Philippines government spent more than $10 billion on its social security program and another $3.2 billion on aid to its poorest citizens, according to data compiled by the International Monetary Fund.
The DSSWD has said the funds are needed to ensure that the poorest Filipinos are receiving adequate income and health care.
The Philippines is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, according a recent UN report.