THE European Union is sending a high-level delegation to Mindanao in August to help secure a lasting peace agreement between the Philippine government and Muslim separatist groups.
EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen, in a rare news briefing held in his Forbes Park residence in Makati City on Tuesday, said the contingent of top EU leaders will meet with various groups.
He said that a big chunk of the €200 million earmarked for projects in the Philippines will go to Mindanao. These projects will be implemented until 2020 in support of the peace process.
“We are focusing more in Mindanao and our projects are aimed at alleviating the conditions of the poor people there,” Jessen said.
For this year, the EU will spend €50 million.
The EU has stepped up its support to the region and is set to sign a new program next year to boost peace and development.
The EU is the biggest exporter to the Philippines and about 800,000 Filipinos are currently working in various countries in EU countries.
Jessen said the EU partnered with various barangays in Metro Manila where their social workers are conducting talks with drug dependents and their families to determine if the victim can be helped, particularly in realizing the bad effects of drug addiction and how he can recover from the addiction and start a new life.
Jaime R. Pilapil