EU allots P275M for Mindanao

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EVEN if Congress has yet to pass the Bangsamoro bill, the European Union (EU) vowed to provide P275 million for peace and development in Mindanao.

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The money will be for various grants and will be channelled in the next 18 months through the Nonviolent Peaceforce, Fondation Suisse de Déminage, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, United Nations Development Programme, and Center for Humanitarian Dialogue.

Ambassador Franz Jessen on Wednesday said the funding aims to enhance the humanitarian and socio-economic situation in conflict-affected areas.

The envoy said the EU remains hopeful that the measure creating a Bangsamoro region will be passed.

He clarified thought that the financial grant will be disbursed even without the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law.

“Our eagerness and readiness to support the calls for a negotiated political settlement in Mindanao remains,” he said. “We are still hoping that it will be passed.”

The EU is one of the biggest foreign donors providing aid to Mindanao.

“The EU has since the 1990s provided development aid to Mindanao. More than P8.5 billion has gone towards programs such as the rehabilitation of internally displaced persons, institution building and increasing the revenues of the most vulnerable members of society,” Jessen noted.

He vowed that the EU will continue to alleviate poverty in the region.

Mindanao is expected to benefit from two development strategy —inclusive growth through access to sustainable energy and job creation, and strengthening the rule of law.

Jessen is set to visit Cotabato for the first time on December 11 to 12 to discuss the peace process with concerned officials and meet with EU partners for development cooperation.

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