• WB vows support to Mindanao projects

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    THE World Bank is committed to provide continuing support to the Mindanao peace process by financing critical projects in infrastructure, community-driven development, and social services to support job creation, according to Vice President for East Asia and the Pacific Axel van Trotsenburg.

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    In a statement released on Monday, van Trotsenburg said the bank continues to believe in the peace process.

    “We look forward to working with all parties – the government, the MILF [Moro Islamic Liberation Front], the private sector, local communities and development partners–in transforming the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao into a region of prosperity and successful poverty reduction,” he said.

    Van Trotsenburg stressed the need for quick-impact programs that will address the immediate needs of communities as raised by MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad.

    The WB official recently visited Cotabato, marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Mindanao Trust Fund, which has supported economic and social recovery, as well as effective governance, in southern Philippines.

    More than half a million people in 214 war-torn communities from 75 municipalities have benefited from the trust fund, which has helped finance the construction of new roads, classrooms, health clinics and community centers and improved access to electricity and water supply, the statement said.

    “The peace process is really all about people, including children who have lost parents to conflict, families suffering from poverty, unemployed young people lured into armed groups and lives of violence,” said van Trotsenburg.

    “Building peace takes time, especially where poverty and conflict have become prevalent. We hope all parties stay the course in Mindanao, because there is no alternative to peace,” he added.

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