By ayan c. mellejor
The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) is working on a new facility to sustain the gains reached under the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF) program funded by the World Bank and other international donors.
Secretary Jesus Dureza said the new facility will not only cover the Bangsamoro but also other groups, including the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) to build confidence even if there is no final agreement yet.
Dureza said the MTF is a successful program in the area of Bangsamoro that can also be copied for the areas affected by the conflict-affected insurgency areas in the Philippines.
He said the plan is now being worked out. In fact, the NDFP already accepted this proposal and created a committee to focus on the short and medium-term development strategy for insurgency-affected areas spearheaded by Luis Jalandoni, the NDFP consultant.
Dureza revealed this during the closing ceremony of the MTF-Reconstruction and Development in Mindanao on Tuesday at the SMX Convention Center.
Dureza said the MTF plan managed by the Bangsamoro Development Authority (BDA) can even be copied by the NDF for its initiatives in the conflict-affected insurgency areas.
The NDF and OPAPP will work as managers for the development project implementing team.
Dureza noted that NDF agreed to that seeing the value of doing development projects while peace negotiations are ongoing. “People cannot wait for a long period for the peace agreement,” Dureza said.
The peace adviser has lauded the Mindanao Trust Fund because it helped a lot to improve the access of Bangsamoro communities to basic services such as clean water, roads, farming equipment and community centers.
“More importantly, as a partnership between the government and the MILF, it has built confidence and social cohesion at the community level, which is an important factor in sustaining the momentum of peace and development in Mindanao,” he said.
The MTF has funded programs and projects that promote economic opportunity, provide access to basic services, and build greater understanding and cooperation among community members in conflict-affected areas.
Since 2006, MTF completed 573 community-driven projects benefitting 650,000 people in 315 conflict-affected communities. The European Union, which is the biggest contributor to MTF, Sweden, Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and the World Bank have provided P1.4 billion to support socioeconomic recovery in Mindanao. Of the total funds, EU provided P1.17 billion to the facility.
WB and the foreign donors like the European Union, government of Canada and Australia were open to help the Duterte administration achieve long-lasting peace and progress in Mindanao.