Philippines-Italy Debt for Development Swap Program

debt swap

  • Background

    The Philippines has been identified as one of the beneficiaries of a debt conversion program by the Italian Government under its 2011-2013 Programming Guidelines and Directions. This led to the signing of a Debt for Development Swap Agreement between the Philippine Government through the Department of Finance, and the Italian Government through the Italian Embassy on 29 May 2012.

    Under the Agreement, the Philippines’ debt obligation amounting to EUR 2,916,919.45 (about US$3.70 million or Php 160 million) was converted to be a Grant for the implementation of development projects focused on environmental protection and poverty reduction in the poorest areas in the Philippines with the effective participation of local communities.

    Officially named the Philippines-Italy Debt for Development Swap Program, it aims to support the achievement of the country’s development goals relating to poverty reduction, sustainable development and the protection of the environment.



    The Italian Development Cooperation in the Philippines

    With the launching of the “Call for proposal” for the new “DEBT- FOR-DEVELOPMENT SWAP PROGRAM”, Italy continues in the path of close cooperation with the Philippines, in the spirit of a strong friendship that traditionally links our countries and our peoples.

    This new exciting program, for an amount of about 3 M Euros will finance projects targeting specifically:

    Poverty reduction; Socio-economic development Environmental protection and sustainable management of natural resources.

    It falls well in line with a long, solid tradition, dating back to the beginning of the diplomatic relations between Italy and Philippines, born in 1947 with the signature of a friendship agreement between the two Countries, and continued with the first agreement of technical and scientific cooperation in 1969.

    It was in 1987 that the new Italian Development Cooperation with the Philippines was launched with the signature of the first bilateral agreement, where an Italian soft loan of 85 M USD was made available for the development of sustainable irrigation systems.

    That same year another soft loan of 70 M USD entered into force for the development of the energy sector in the Country.

    In the 80s the cooperation between Italy and Philippines was so intensive that 15 bilateral agreements were signed in order to develop many sectors, including telecommunications.

    During the 90s the Italian Development Cooperation was also active in the Philippines in the sector of energy, including geothermic – where Italy has unparalleled experience and technical capabilities – education and transport.

    In the last 5 years the total ODA from Italy to the Philippines amounted to € 34,726,739.00.

    This amount was allocated mainly in the framework of Bilateral Cooperation, while about 2 M euros were allocated in Multilateral cooperation, financing a project implemented by FAO in the Veterinary sector, so successfully that subsequently it was expanded to other neighbouring Countries (Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar).

    The largest bilateral program currently on-going is the “ITALIAN ASSISTANCE TO THE AGRARIAN REFORM COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT PROGRAM – IARCDSP” for a financed amount of over 26 M euros in soft loans, and 1.3 M in grant in technical assistance. This program total operative value amounts to 42 M Euros (equal to over 54 M USD).

    The Department of Agrarian Reform is the executing Agency in collaboration with others Filipino Departments.

    The program targets specifically :

    Agricultural enterprise development support Community infrastructure development support Local capacity building support

    We are very proud of this program, focusing on supporting integrated development projects in Mindanao and targeting Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, their families, their communities villages and cities. We expect they will be able to increase their incomes and quality of life, but also contribute to a better socio-economic general environment which should contribute to a positive solution of the historical problems of Mindanao, and facilitate the peace process.

    Last but not least the Italian Cooperation has extended a helpful hand to the Filipinos in the last two years when two catastrophic typhoons have strongly hit areas of Mindanao destroying thousands of houses and infrastructures. At the end of 2011 and 2012 we sent emergency aid for about 700.000 Euros, also trough the International Red Cross.

    The Italian Cooperation is currently operating in Philippines through a Development Cooperation Office located in the premises of the Embassy of Italy in Manila.

    We will keep working hand in hand with our Filipino friends for a better tomorrow.


    Massimo Roscigno

    Ambassador of Italy

  • Projects

    A total of 6 projects – 2 small (maximum of Php10M each), 2 medium (maximum of Php25M each), and 2 large (maximum of Php35M each) – are currently being funded under the Program.

    By type of intervention, 4 of the 6 projects focus on forest conservation and reforestation, 1 on sustainable and integrated agriculture, and 1 on coastal resource management.

    The projects are expected to give additional and/or alternative livelihood to about 16,000 beneficiaries, including farmers and fisherfolks, reforest 920 hectares of land and 100 hectares of mangrove, and work for the protection of the Mt. Hamiguitan Range, a UNESCO natural world heritage site.

    ph-italy ppt final

  • Management

    The Program is collaboratively managed by the Philippine and Italian Governments through the Department of Finance and the Italian Embassy, respectively.



    The Management Committee, represented by the Secretary of Finance or his/her representative and the Ambassador of Italy in Manila or his/her representative, provides the policy direction for the Program.



    Supporting the Management Committee is the Technical Committee composed of a Program Manager from the Department of Finance, a Program Expert from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, and representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and Philippine and Italian Civil Society Organizations.

  • Call for Proposals

    This Call for Proposals is now CLOSED.

    Thank you for your proposals.

    An acknowledgement receipt was sent via email to the proponents whose proposals were received within the deadline. While the review is in progress, the Program Secretariat shall regularly notify the proponents of the status of their proposal. Please be advised to regularly check your emailfor updates from the Program Secretariat.


    The Department of Finance and the Embassy of Italy in Manila announce this Call for Proposals under the Philippines-Italy Debt for Development Swap Program.

    We invite proposals on projects that support the protection, preservation and sustainable management of the country’s 18 major river basins and the improvement of the livelihood of communities through inclusive partnerships among various sectors and stakeholders, and the development of sustainable value chains linking farmers to markets.

    Eligible Proponents are Philippine and Italian Civil Society Organizations operating in the Philippines.

    Maximum available grant fund:
    Php 12,000,000.00

    For details, download the following documents:

    • Call for Proposals Guidelines
    • Annex A. Checklist and Certification
    • Annex B. Proponent Information Form
    • Annex C. Summary of Experience
    • Annex D. Technical Proposal
    • Annex E. Financial Proposal
    • Annex F. Evaluation Criteria

    Download files: here

    Applicants are required to submit a complete application package, taking into account presented formats, supporting documents and guidelines.

    Deadline of submission:
    September 15, 2016
    5:00 PM

    Inquiries may be forwarded to until September 8, 2016.

  • Updates

    Enriching a ‘fantastic jewel’ of the Philippines: Italian Government supports sustainable eco-tourism development at the Puerto Princesa Underground River, Palawan

    Puerto Princesa City—A community-based initiative supported by the Italian government to preserve the Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) and promote sustainable eco-tourism initiatives in the province of Palawan was officially launched here recently by the local government of the city and the Embassy of Italy in Manila.

    Italian Ambassador to Manila Massimo Roscigno and the TagBalay Foundation, in partnership with the Puerto Princesa city government, led the recent launching of the “Support for Sustainable Eco-Tourism at the PPUR Area,” a two-year project of TagBalay Foundation, in collaboration with the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park-Protected Area Management Board (PPSRNP-PAMB) and the La Venta Esplorazioni Geografiche, a group of Italian cave explorers, under the Philippines-Italy Debt for Development Swap Program (PIDDS).

    Under the PIDDS, which was formalized between the governments of Italy through the Italian Embassy, and the Philippines through the Department of Finance (DOF), the country’s debt obligation of 2.9 million Euros (about US$3.7 million or P160 million) was converted into a grant for the implementation of development projects in the Philippines’ poorest areas.

    These projects, one of which is the PPUR initiative, focuses on environmental protection and poverty reduction with the participation of local communities.

    Ambassador Roscigno, describing the Underground River as “a fantastic jewel of the country,” expressed confidence that the PIDDS-supported project will help sustain the natural beauty of the PPUR and promote it not only as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Natural Heritage Site but also as a top global tourist attraction.

    L-R: Mr. Marco Spada, Program Expert from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation; Mr. Anthony Abaya, President of TagBalay Foundation; Mr. Antonio De Vivo of La Venta; Italian Ambassador H.E. Massimo Roscigno; Mr. Paolo Forti of La Venta
    Photo credits: PPSRNP-PAMB

    “It is close to my heart since almost 30 years ago, [I was a young diplomat in Manila then], I came to discover the beauty of Palawan and visited the Underground River. It impressed me so much. That is why I am particularly proud that we can leave today the name of our country with the future success of this great natural attraction,” Ambassador Roscigno said.

    Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III lauded the project for its potential to provide sustainable eco-tourism opportunities in Palawan and alternative livelihood options that is in sync with good environmental practices.

    “This project supports inclusive development by enabling partnership between non-government and government entities to fund community-based tourism and livelihood opportunities for communities,” Dominguez said.

    He said the project was aligned with the Duterte administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda, which, aims to ensure inclusive growth, by among others, increasing rural productivity and tourism.

    The PIDDS awarded TagBalay and its partners with a grant of P14.2 million with an additional 2.3 million provided as counterpart of TagBalay.

    In its efforts to further preserve the Underground River, the project aims to support the communities surrounding the protected area through sustainable eco-tourism by providing them alternative tourism sites.

    The project also utilizes Italian cave expertise, in collaboration with local cave experts, to further explore the cave and find ways to preserve it, and also provides assistance to local stakeholders on cave management.

    The project began implementation in September 2016 and is expected to end in the first quarter of 2018.

    PPSRNP-PAMB staff
    H.E. Massimo Roscigno with the project implementers and partners from TagBalay, PPSRNP-PAMB, and La Venta, DOF, and project stakeholders.

    Photo credits: PPSRNP-PAMB

    Some 100 partners and stakeholders representing the PPSRNP-PAMB, La Venta, Gaia Exploration Club, the academe, tourism services, the Association of Banca Operators, and community leaders attended the official launching of the project.

    Local leaders present during the event included City Councilor Nancy Socrates representing Mayor Lucilo Bayron, and Maribel Buñi, Provincial Tourism Officer, representing Governor Jose Alvarez.

    The project launching also included a pre-expedition forum where the TagBalay Foundation, La Venta, the Gaia Exploration Club presented their programs and activities to preserve the PPUR area.

    Paolo Forti from La Venta explained the scientific expedition to be done as part of the project.


    3rd Call for Proposals Now Closed

    We are pleased to announce that the Philippines-Italy Debt for Development Swap Program received 14 proposals from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from all over the Philippines in response to the Program’s 3rd Call for Proposals which was launched on August 15, 2016 and closed on September 15, 2016.

    Of the 14, 4 proponents have proposed projects to be implemented within the major river basins in Luzon; 1 in Visayas; and 9 in Mindanao.

    An acknowledgement receipt was sent via email to proponents whose proposals were received within the deadline.

    The evaluation of the proposals is currently in progress. Proponents will be contacted via email in case of any clarificationon their submissions.

    Regular updates on the status of the proposals review will be announced by the Program Secretariat. Announcement of the final result is targeted to be within the month of October 2016.



    Italian Embassy and DoF witness the Project Launching of BCDI and its partners in Ligao City, Albay


    Bicol Region, Philippines – On September 17 (Thursday), the Bicol Consortium for Development Initiatives, Inc. (BCDI) formally launched their project for the protection and conservation of the Burias Pass, a body of water located in the province of Albay and known to be a huge fishing ground and a site for rare and endangered species.

    The project, a “Partnership for the Sustainable Management of Municipal Waters in Burias Pass, Bicol Region for the Benefit of the Disadvantaged Sectors” involves and benefits 8 municipalities, namely, Ligao City, Pio Duran, Oas, and Libon in Albay Province, Donsol and Pilar in Sorsogon, and Claveria and San Pascual in the island province of Masbate.


    The project aims to improve the quality of life of around 13,800 small fishermen in the communities surrounding Burias Pass through strengthened policy advocacy and the sustainable management of coastal and marine resources, regeneration of marine resources and near-shore forests, the improvement of access to clean water, and increased income levels among the small fishermen and their families.

    This project is one of the community-based initiatives chosen under the Philippines-Italy Debt for Development Swap Program (PIDDS), a debt conversion program in accordance with the Programming Guidelines and Directions of the Italian Government Cooperation for 2011-2013. With a total project cost amounting to Php 35.2 million – Php 32.8 million of which is given as grant, while the remaining Php 2.4 million serves as the counterpart – this project is one of the two large projects funded under the Program.


    L-R: Cong. Fernando Gonzales of the 3rd District of Albay, Asst. Secretary Maria Edita Tan of the International Finance Group, Department of Finance, Italian Ambassador H.E. Massimo Roscigno

    The Italian Ambassador, His Excellency Massimo Roscigno, and the Department of Finance (DoF), represented by Asst. Secretary Maria Edita Tan of the International Finance Group and members of the PIDDS Program Secretariat, witnessed the project launching held at Brgy. Catburawan, Ligao City, Albay.

    In attendance were more than 100 partners and stakeholders, including the small fishers from the communities whom BCDI engaged as project partners and beneficiaries. Ms. Nonie P. Enolva, Marine Fisheries Resource Management Section Chief at the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Bicol Region provided the assembly with a situationer on the Burias Pass covering, among others, the state of biodiversity in the area and concerns surrounding the livelihood of the local fisherfolks.


    The project partners and stakeholders pose for a photo opportunity with H.E. Ambassador Massimo Roscigno.

    Among the local leaders present in support of the initiative were Rev. Fr. Jojo Opinio, Executive Director of Caritas Masbate and Board Member of BCDI; Ms. Caroline Manguiat-Ubalde, Executive Director of BCDI; Fr. Rex Paul Arjona, Executive Director of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Legazpi; Cong. Fernando Gonzales of the 3rd District of Albay; former Ligao City Mayor Hon. Linda P. Gonzales; Hon. Henry P. Callope, Mayor of Pio Duran; Hon. Elsa Llanto, Councilor of Pio Duran; and Don Mape, Municipal Administrator of Oas.


    Top-Left: Cong. Fernando Gonzales of the 3rd District of Albay; Bottom-Left: Police Superintendent Mario Sanchez Meneses; Bottom-Right: Capt. Adelius Bordado of the Philippine Navy

    Local security forces, through the messages of support from Police Superintendent Mario Sanchez Meneses and Capt. Adelius Bordado of the Philippine Navy, acknowledged their crucial role in ensuring the success of the initiative. Aside from the BFAR, Asst. Regional Director for Technical Services Al Orolfo of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was also present, and representing the academe was Dr. Agnes Nepomuceno of the Bicol University.

    This assembly also gave the local fisherfolks a unique opportunity to communicate the problems confronting them and the improved conditions they are aspiring for.

    Through the stories shared by Frederick A. Timog of Cagmanaba, Oas, Albay; Roberto G. Alburo of Dao, Pilar, Sorsogon; and Jun Dela Cruz of Nonoc, Claveria, Masbate, the stakeholders developed a shared understanding of the realities of life in the communities surrounding Burias Pass, and with much hope in this partnership, the small fishers look forward to the time that they are no longer called a “disadvantaged” sector of society; rather, as one of the most valuable contributors to the Philippine economy.


    The next day, September 18 (Friday), Amb. Roscigno, together with the Program Secretariat and the BCDI Project Team, paid a visit to one of the participating barangays – Brgy. Punta, Waling-Waling, Dalisay (PWWD) in the municipality of Donsol, Sorsogon – for the opportunity to interact with the barangay leaders involved in project implementation and to see the PWWD Mangrove Park. Donsol Mayor Hon. Josephine A. Alcantara-Cruz accompanied Amb. Roscigno in a short tour by the municipal water sidelines.


    Before flying back to Manila, Amb. Roscigno paid a courtesy visit to Albay Governor Josemaria “Joey” Salceda at the Albay Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office, Albay Astrodome Complex, Legazpi City.


    End of submission of proposals

    The Philippines-Italy Debt for Development Swap Team is pleased to announce that 126 proponents expressed their interest to avail of the development funds intended for environmental protection and poverty reduction.

    Nevertheless, among the 126 proposals received, only 101 met the deadline and only these proposals will proceed to evaluation. An acknowledgement receipt was sent to the proponents whose proposals were received within the deadline.


    Of the 101 proposals, 57% were for large projects (above Php25 to Php35M), 28% were for medium-sized projects (Php10M to Php25M), and the remaining 15%were for small projects (below Php10M).

    Status of evaluation


    As of 12 December 2013, all of the qualified proposals already went through Administrative Compliance Check, Eligibility Evaluation and Experience Evaluation. About 90% of which are already finished with the Technical Evaluation and about 10% has gone under Financial, Co-Financing and Priority Areas Evaluation.

    Almost all of the proposals are currently undergoing Technical, Financial , Co-financing and Priority Areas Evaluation.

    Next Step:

    Technical Committee deliberation Post-qualification Management Committee approval

    Proponents will be contacted via email in case of clarifications to their submissions.

    Announcement of qualified projects will be within the first quarter of 2014.

Department of Finance