Australian Government

Australia Gov’t-DepEd Partnership: Assisting Disadvantaged Students

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From its implementation in 2011 until 2014, more than 107,000 children in regions across the country benefited from the Philippines Response to Indigenous and Muslim Education (PRIME) Program, which was brought about with the help of the Australian Government.

PRIME was initiated by the Department of Education (DepEd) to attend to the education needs of disadvantaged groups. Australia provided A$20 million (PHP880 million) to bring solution to the increased number of drop-outs, improve poor participation rates, and increase completion rates and national test scores.

DepEd Undersecretary for Regional Operations Rizalino Rivera says that Australia is the Philippines’ biggest partner in education.

While the PRIME Program has been completed, Australia stated that it will continue to provide support to education in the Philippines through other programs such as the ongoing BEAM (Basic Education Assistance for Mindanao) in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and the new national program Basic Education Sector Transformation (BEST).

Australia and the Philippines have been long-standing partners in the development of the education sector, with Australia being a provider of support for teacher training, development of curriculum and learning materials, technical assistance on education governance and leadership programs, and strengthening capacity for evidence-based planning.

Australia also provides scholarship placement for educators to study in Australia to further update their knowledge and pedagogy.

Australia has been supporting the Philippines in its bid to transition to the K+12 program, which aims to equip graduates with a globally-recognized education and help them become more domestically and internationally competitive.

Despite this, the Australian aid only serves as a temporary solution to the country’s problems in the educational sector.
Critics say that the only long-term resolution to the issue of the education sector is to increase the government’s subsidy on state-owned schools and colleges, while applying regulation on tuition fees on private-owned schools and universities.

Australia-PH Launch NCR ‘Risk Maps’

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“NO city and municipality is safe from natural hazards and disasters. However, not all hazards have to lead to disaster.”

This was the  overarching message during the “Launch and Handover of Multi-hazard and Risk Maps for the Greater Metro Manila Area” held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ortigas, Pasig City as the Australian and the Philippine Governments recognize the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction.


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(image credit –

Handed over to Greater Metro Manila Area (GMMA) officials during the launch were hazard and risk assessment maps which are expected to aid local government units in enhancing their local disaster risk reduction management (LDRRM) plans.

An average of 87 maps for each of the 24 local government units (LGUs) in GMMA were handed over.  Also handed over was the exposure database containing physical information, population and socio-economic characteristics of communities.  These are vital information in determining people, assets, and activities that will likely be affected when a disaster strikes.  The maps and exposure database may also be used as a resource in preparing improved land use and contingency plans and targeted investment programs.

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director, Undersecretary Eduardo Del Rosario said, “The local government units and the local chief executives must know the hazards and risks in their respective communities. Records have shown and past experiences have proven—from Ondoy, Pepeng, Habagat, Maring, and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol last Tuesday—that disasters can strike anywhere.  Measures must be taken to reduce vulnerabilities and to minimize threats,” he said. “We may not be able to prevent disasters, but we can empower ourselves to prevent lost lives and further deplete our economic resources.”

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said, “The increasing scale and frequency of natural disasters are costing the country millions every year, and studies have shown that due to changing climate patterns and the rapid urbanization in GMMA, it can get even worse.”

“Natural hazards, however, do not have to lead to disasters especially if we are able to carefully assess the risk of an area and properly plan for the long-term. But we can only do that if we have the data. The Australian Government is pleased to have worked closely with the Philippine Government in producing these maps which can now help us prepare for such scenarios.”

The maps and the accompanying data are results of the ‘Risk Analysis Project’, a three-year collaboration of the Australian Government aid program with Geoscience Australia, the Philippines’ Office of Civil Defense, and the agencies under the Collective Strengthening of Community Awareness of Natural Disasters (CSCAND), which include the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, Philippine  Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, and the Philippine Institute for Volcanology and Seismology.
Apart from the maps however, the proponents of the project also emphasized the need for cooperation and collective action to reduce the vulnerability and enhance the resilience of urban communities. In 2012 alone, the Philippines had the most disaster-related deaths in the world with over 2,300 lives lost. All members of the community, from the government to the residents, thus have the responsibility to take part in disaster risk reduction. We must all be proactive in helping reduce the risk of our community,” said Usec Del Rosario.