MANILA, Philippines -- The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines announced today that the U.S. government is providing an additional Php201 million ($4 million) to help support vulnerable populations in Mindanao in the fight against COVID-19, bringing the total amount of U.S. pandemic assistance to the Philippines to over Php978 million ($19.5 million).
On June 2, U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim met virtually with Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) officials, led by Chief Minister Ahod ‘Al Haj Murad’ Ebrahim, who also chairs the BARMM Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19, and reiterated U.S. commitment to partnering with the Philippines to address COVID-19 in the region. The meeting provided an opportunity for BARMM leadership to discuss challenges and present its COVID-19 contingency plan, while Ambassador Kim and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Lawrence Hardy provided updates on U.S. COVID-19 assistance.
“In these trying times, I am inspired by the resilience and courage of the Filipino people,” said Ambassador Kim. “The United States and the Philippines have met and overcome many challenges together, and I am confident that working together we will overcome this challenge as well.”
With the additional $4 million in humanitarian assistance, USAID will protect vulnerable populations – those displaced by conflict and the recent earthquakes in Mindanao – from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. USAID and its partners will work with local governments, local health authorities, and communities so that vulnerable populations have access to the most accurate and up-to-date health messages.
USAID partners will reach over 100,000 persons with distributions of essential hygiene supplies, handwashing stations, hygiene promotion to reduce transmission risk and help communities re-open. USAID will also continue to provide vital water supply in transitory sites in Lanao del Sur for families displaced by the Marawi Siege and in North Cotabato for earthquake-affected communities.
The United States has provided more than Php228 billion ($4.5 billion) in development assistance to the Philippines over the past 20 years, including over Php29 billion ($582 million) in health assistance.