Philippines: Economic Growth Hubs, Infrastructure and Competitiveness

Completed Project
Project Countries: Philippines
Thematic Issues: Economic Growth
Project Duration: 2009 to 2013
Approximate Funding: $6,600,000

The Economic Growth Hubs Project is a Cooperative Agreement with the Asia Foundation. The project’s three objectives were: Better Provision of Infrastructure, Better Performing Economic Growth Hubs, and Promoting a political economy approach to economic policy reform process. One of the activities under Better Performing Economic Growth Hubs included the provision of technical support for the passage and effective implementation of the Residential Free Patent law in the Philippines. The Residential Free Patent Act (RA 10023), passed in March 2010, created a low-cost, administrative procedure to more efficiently title the estimated 8,000,000 untitled residential parcels in the country and unlocked “dead capital” to drive economic development.

Objectives

  • Better Provision of Infrastructure:
    • Through improved public-private partnerships (PPP) – This activity will seek to establish an enduring policy and institutional environment that promotes competitively bid and properly implemented PPP infrastructure projects;
    • Through increasing transparency and accountability in budget and spending – The goal is to broaden participation in the allocation and implementation of infrastructure investments. The project will provide technical assistance to civil society, business associations and/or government institutions to increase understanding and participation in the decision-making and implementation processes of infrastructure projects in the Philippines;
    • To expand Philippine Roll On, Roll Off (RoRo) network both domestically and regionally
  • Better improving growth hubs:
    • Improve the institutional capacity of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA);
    • Develop the Subic-Clark as a major tourism and logistics hub;
    • Assist in the effective implementation of the Residential Free Patent law
  • Promoting a political economy approach to economic policy reform process – to develop material to increase understanding of the political economy of reform, to develop policy entrepreneurs, inform the design of donor project activities, and support new reform initiatives (with AusAID and World Bank)

Outcomes

  • To improve the security of property rights in the Philippines, USAID supported the implementation of the Residential Free Patent Act (RA 10023), passed in March 2010, that creates a low-cost, administrative procedure to more efficiently title the estimated eight million untitled residential parcels in the country and unlock “dead capital” to drive economic development.
  • To further institutionalize reform, the project helped establish robust partnerships between national Department of Environment and Resources (DENR) and local governments. These partnerships leverage the authority of DENR to issue titles and the resources and interests of LGUs in land titling.
  • Since the pilot was launched in Cebu in January 2011, over 100 local governments have established “land offices”.
  • Based on lessons from the field and working with the DENR’s Land Management Bureau, the project also developed a manual to guide DENR and LGU personnel on establishing and operating land offices.

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