As the second-largest city in the Philippines, Cebu has been eyed as the first stop in the rollout of sage and effective COVID-19 vaccines. According to the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Steven Robinson AO, the 80-M Australian dollars allocation of the Development Assistance Program will primarily be designated to the southern part of the Philippines.
With the ongoing pandemic, the Australian government has decided to recalibrate their focus goals of the DAP and prioritize on health, prosperity and security, and economic recovery. This program is directly channeled to the Philippines to be consistent with their central government’s goals.
Australian Government Pledges 500M AUD
To support the countries in Southeast Asia, the Australian government has pledged 500-M Australian Dollars for the purchase and provision of technical assistance of the COVID-19 vaccines. A portion of this is allocated for the Philippines, particularly to Cebu and other provinces in Mindanao. This amount is set for the COVID-19 vaccination program for the next three years.
The Australian government has been long coordinating with aCarlito Galvez, Vince Dizon, and Health Sec. Francisco Duque III for this matter. Knowing the geographical landscape of the country, this program envisions to move the vaccine to the remote areas of the different islands of the country – as well as do an education campaign so that people will understand the importance of getting vaccinated.
Sustainable Livelihood Program for Rebel Returnees
Aside from health, the Australian government also aims to provide financial assistance and sustainable livelihood training for those rebel returnees. They have been closely collaborating with the Philippine military to work with surrenderers who have laid down their arms and opted for a more sustainable option like becoming farmers or fisherfolks.
Australia to Help Push Economic Recovery of the Philippines
As a country that has been very keen on innovation and science and technology, the Australian Hydrogen Research and Development Company Star Scientific Ltd. Has signed a memorandum of agreement last January 27 with the Secretary of Energy, Sec. Alfonso Cusi. This partnership aims to bring abundant clean energy and desalinated water to the Filipinos by means of converting hydrogen and oxygen into heat and water.
The success of this project will totally help the Philippines, which is very much reliant on imported fossil fuels. In addition to this, the government is also set to sign another agreement with Austal Philippines Pty. Ltd. For the production of patrol vessels. This is part of the proposal to build six offshore patrol vessels for the Philippine Navy in Balamban, Cebu in the next five years.
With this, Austal is set to employ 750 to 1,000 Filipinos in this critical time when a lot of Filipinos are unemployed because of the pandemic. The Australian Ambassador to the Philippines is also set to meet with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss possible economic opportunities between the Philippines and Australia.
Before the first month of the year ended, the Australian Ambassador stayed in Cebu to further discuss the upcoming 75th Australian-Filipino Friendship which is scheduled this May 22, 2021.