• EU, UNDP to help sustain peace in Mindanao with P63-M fund

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    THE European Union (EU) is to allocate P63 million to help sustain peace efforts on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, with the fund and its projects to be managed and implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

    This develops as the politico-economic bloc of 28 European states and the UN’s global development network launched Wednesday a project dubbed “Support Peace-Bangsamoro,” whose implementation will start from this year and run until mid-2017.

    “We would like to keep the dialogue open to strengthen peace-building efforts even in the grassroots level,” EU Ambassador Franz Jessen said. “This initiative would contribute to ensuring participation of all stakeholders, especially women and children in local processes, decision-making and conflict mitigation for sustainable peace.”

    The project will (1) support capacity-building for local leaders and other stakeholders on public administration and parliamentary processes, (2) strengthen the constituency for peace-building in the Bangsamoro, including establishing partnerships with local government units (LGUs) and civil society organizations, (3) develop platforms that will enable the youth and women to actively engage in peace-building, and (4) provide support for the Third-Party Monitoring of the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

    Titon Mitra, country director of UNDP Philippines, noted the volatility of peace and order situation in some parts of Mindanao, following the non-passage of a proposed legislation creating a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

    “Peace-building efforts need to be deepened and this project will make an important contribution to the difficult but critical process of securing a lasting peace,” Mitra said. “UNDP and the EU have a longstanding partnership on and commitment to peace-building initiatives in Mindanao.”

    Jessen and Mitra assured that the huge amount for the project would not be transmitted to the LGUs, to ensure that the funds will not go to corruption.

    Mitra stressed, “The control of funds will remain within UNDP, completely accountable to EU to make sure funds are for purposes where they are intended for.” MICHAEL JOE T. DELIZO

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