The Philippines appears to be stepping up its commitment to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. It has assured the U.N. that it will incorporate the MDGs in its medium-term development plan for 2010 to 2016, the Manila Bulletin says. The country’s National Economic Development Authority said it already started its planning cycle for the next six years and is seeking to fully engage various government agencies and stakeholders in fleshing out the development plan. The government has also indicated it will launch cash-transfer programs to help alleviate poverty in the country. But a former national treasurer is advising against the initiative while urging the government to channel its resources to more sustainable means instead. Leonor Briones said the government would not be able to sustain cash-transfers programs given its expected budget deficit of more than 300 billion Philippine pesos(USD6.6 billion) in 2010, according to the Business Mirror.
Meanwhile, Philippine President Benigno Aquino has announced he will travel to the U.S. to attend the high-level U.N. meeting on the MDGs. While in the U.S., he is also expected to sign the USD434 million grant the country received from the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corp., Malaya reports.