The Philippines Compact is an example of collaborative and committed coordination on many levels. Throughout the implementation of the compact and across two presidential administrations, the Government of the Philippines consistently fulfilled its commitments, both operationally and financially, and provided high-level support for each of the projects, including active participation at the Cabinet level for specific project matters requiring special attention, as well as involvement at quarterly MCA-Philippines Board meetings.
Collaboration between Peace Corps and MCC played a significant role in the execution of the Kalahi-CIDSS Community-Driven Development Project. Peace Corps Volunteers assisted implementing partners in documenting projects’ impacts. Additionally, MCC engaged the World Bank in developing a rigorous impact evaluation of both MCC and World Bank-funded municipalities within Kalahi-CIDSS. This innovative evaluation informed the scale-up of the government’s national community driven development project, revealing deficiencies in the original model, and provided an independent assessment of Kalahi-CIDSS’ impact, specifically on returns to MCC’s investment. Furthermore, it contributed to broader research about the impacts of community-driven development programs.
In collaboration with the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the first contract package of the Secondary National Roads Development Project served as a pilot for the Government’s Community Managed Road Maintenance Program, whereby residents along the road managed routine road maintenance works, helping to sustain its quality and life in addition to providing employment for women residing in nearby communities. The program was scaled up in the remaining three contract packages within MCC’s roads project. MCC supported the government in updating guidelines for the road maintenance program, incorporating a provision on women’s employment that helped ensure the sustainability of MCC’s efforts to provide these opportunities to women residing in communities where the road was being constructed.
The Revenue Administration Reform Project was the first time that MCC engaged the International Monetary Fund as a project resource for technical assistance, and it was viewed as a successful partnership. The IMF was given the flexibility to independently identify problems and recommend timely measures to address them. This flexibility allowed the IMF to focus on critical topics such as a Value Added Tax (VAT) audit and arrears management. As a result, revenue performance improved markedly in the Bureau of Internal Revenue, with new techniques and procedures adopted that have uncovered large amounts of outstanding tax debt and identified large amounts of undeclared VAT through audits. More generally, these and other successes led the staff most closely associated with these reforms to become more comfortable about questioning the old ways of doing things, and instead, looking for more efficient and effective options. For the first time in BIR’s history, information was compiled on the large amount of tax debt currently outstanding, and informed decisions were made about which debts were collectible. Using the re-engineered procedures and a centralized organizational structure, actual debt collections improved dramatically. In VAT audit both the amounts of outstanding VAT assessed as owing and actual collections of those amounts improved significantly.
In conjunction with civil society, the Government of the Philippines advanced an open government initiative (prompted by a call to improve performance on the MCC scorecard), where government agencies are required to report public performance on targets and be open to public discourse and evaluation. Quarterly public fora occurred throughout the compact period. MCC representatives participated as observers, and participation by government agencies expanded.
MCA-Philippines fostered an agreement among several government departments to implement a robust Tree Replacement Program on Samar Island. Some 772,900 trees[[Annual Summary Report on Philippine Compact (March 2017)]] were planted in Samar to replace about 7,729 trees affected by the Secondary National Roads Development Project. The Tree Replacement Program contributed to the government’s National Greening Program, and it also encouraged the employment of women.
In support of vigorous reforms at the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Revenue Administration Reform Project benefited from unique and collaborative partnerships. The Project brokered assistance from the U.S. Treasury Office of Technical Assistance to re-design tax forms that were used in recent tax collection campaigns. It also utilized technical assistance from the IMF, which has also served as a coordination mechanism among donors at BIR, including USAID.
MCA-Philippines also undertook a series of educational and outreach activities on anti-trafficking in partnership with local and national governments as well as NGOs, as many communities where compact projects were being implemented were deemed at risk, including in particular, Eastern Samar. In carrying out outreach and training in communities, MCA-Philippines partnered with Pact, an international NGO, and with the national Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking and local councils against trafficking.