MANILA, July 13, 2016 — The U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded seven new grants to support local organizations combating human trafficking and protecting the environment.
Through its Philippine-American Fund (Phil-Am Fund), USAID initiated partnerships with BALAOD Mindanaw, Inc. and the Fellowship for Organizing Endeavors, Inc. to extend assistance to victims of trafficking in Cagayan De Oro and Cebu City. The grants were signed days after the U.S. State Department announced the Philippines’ elevation to Tier 1 status in the annual Trafficking In Persons Report. For the first time, the country fully meets the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, as defined by the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Five biodiversity con-servation partnerships were also signed. The local grantees are Haribon Foundation, PATH Foundation Philippines, Soil and Water Conservation Foundation, South Pacific Integrated Area Development Foundation, and Tanggol Kalikasan. With USAID support, these organizations will work to improve management of biodiversity resources in close to 200,000 hectares of terrestrial and coastal areas in Oriental Mindoro, Quezon, Cebu and Southern Leyte.
Launched in September 2013, the Phil-Am Fund is a five-year, Php 984 million ($24 million) project that supports civil society organizations, cooperatives, social enter-prises, and private companies in implementing innovative solutions that address the country’s development challenges. To date, USAID has awarded a total of 33 grants on biodiversity, economic growth, good governance, anti-trafficking in persons, and basic education. The Phil-Am Fund administrator is the Gerry Roxas Foundation.
The grant signing ceremony on July 5 was witnessed by Dr. Steve Andoseh, the director of USAID’s Office of Economic Development and Governance and Ms. Judy Araneta-Roxas, President of the Gerry Roxas Foundation.#