The World Bank (WB) and foreign donors are open to raise more financial aid to support the peace and development efforts of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte for conflict areas in Mindanao.
“We are planning new World Bank supported programs for Mindanao to sustain efforts toward attaining peace and development,” said World Bank Country Director Mara Warwick during the closing of the 11-year Mindanao Trust Fund-Reconstruction and Development Project (MTF-RDP) held at SM Convention Center on Tuesday.
As to the size of the fund support, Warwick said this would depend how the government through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and rebel groups come up with the program similar to the MTF, a multi-donor grant facility established to consolidate international development assistance for the socioeconomic recovery of conflict-affected communities in Mindanao.
Warwick said a similar program is being finalized by the government.
The MTF funds programs and projects that promote economic opportunity, provide access to basic services, and build social cohesion to help create stable and secure Bangsamoro communities. The MTF also builds capacities of Bangsamoro institutions for development planning and local governance.
The MTF partners with the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), the development arm of the MILF, with technical support from Community and Family Services International (CFSI) and Mindanao Land Foundation, Incorporated (MinLand).
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 PHP1.4 billion to support socioeconomic recovery in Mindanao. Of the total funds, EU provided PHP 1.17 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
Speaking at a press conference, Ambassador Franz Jessen, head of delegation to the European Union said they are monitoring the peace process, which they regard as the most promising under the Duterte administration.
Jessen cited the President’s tremendous efforts to bring peace in Mindanao not only in the Bangsamoro areas but also with the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army- National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
While the EU is not obliged to support the Philippines, Jessen said they are committed to support further development in the Philippines, create jobs, among others.
The size of the aid, Jessen said, would depend how government is looking at their support and their involvement.
“The European Union will continue to support programs such as these to help bring lasting peace and development in Mindanao,” he said.
“The European Union has been with the Mindanao Trust Fund since 2006, because we believe peace is fundamental for economic development,” said Ambassador Franz Jessen, Head of Delegation to the European Union “The European Union will continue to support programs such as these to help bring lasting peace and development in Mindanao.”
Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines John Holmes said they have been pleased of the work of the MTF and look forward to work closely with the government for the transition of the program go forward.
Holmes said they are now in the process of reviewing international assistance with the special focus on Mindanao.
Warwick said there is so much to be done to address poverty and vulnerability in the Bangsamoro and Mindanao in general. Ayan C. Mellejor