DFA appeals for funds to contribute to int’l groups

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16)— The country should revive contributions to international organizations as part of goodwill efforts in the global community, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs during deliberations on its proposed 2022 budget on Thursday.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin, Jr. told lawmakers that the allocation would not go to waste, adding that the country even got more in return after donating to the World Health Organization-led COVAX vaccine initiative and the Association of Southeast Asian Nation’s COVID-19 response fund this year.

“It got paid back. We got it all back and more. That one helps, I think. As long as we monitor who are gonna be given these bigger donations, I think we’re fine because we get the respect and attention of the world,” Locsin said.

The provision was removed by the Department of Budget and Management, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Myla Macahilig told the Senate finance subcommittee.

DFA officials have not requested a specific amount for next year’s donations.

In the current budget, more than ₱2.3 billion was allotted for contributions to global organizations, subject to the review of the DFA and the International Commitments Fund Panel, and to the approval of the President.

Senator Richard Gordon backed the DFA in its appeal, citing his experience as chairman of the humanitarian organization Philippine Red Cross.

“We’re not a rich country and they (international organizations) realize that but at least there's an effort to show that we are in solidarity with them,” he said.

The DFA has a proposed budget of over ₱21 billion for 2022. It does not include funds for the hosting of regional or international conferences, Locsin said, adding that he and President Rodrigo Duterte already turned down such requests.