The European Union has earmarked €4.2-million in support of the Philippine Government’s roadmap for peace in Mindanao.
Citing the EU as being the major humanitarian donor for the relief assistance to the civilians displaced by the armed conflict in Zamboanga City and in Maguindanao, ambassador Franz Jessen said the new donation signed in December 2016 will pursue EU’s three objectives.
“I expect that the focus will soon shift away from the peace process to the implementation of the peace agreements. Once this shift takes place the EU is very well positioned to contribute,” Jessen said.
“The challenge will be to ensure that all parties continue to see the clear and evident benefits for the Philippines and Mindanao of moving to a peaceful Mindanao, focused on creating better lives for its people,” the envoy added.
The new donation will be good for 14 months or until March 2018, he said.
The specific objectives are: 1) the monitoring of the situation to diffuse tensions on the ground is continued and strengthened; 2) Confidence building, for the convergence of all the Moro factions and their transition to civilian entities and for creating a more inclusive political platform bringing together Mindanao’s diverse population; and 3) Contributing to peace building and conflict mitigation through monitoring mechanisms as agreed by the two parties.
It also includes funding for the Civilian Protection Component of the International Monitoring Team including an embedded EU Human Rights expert, and for the functioning of the Third Party Monitoring Team led by a former EU ambassador to the Philippines.
The €1.9-million of €4-million will go to the NGO Non -Violent Peace Forces to support the Civilian Protection Component of the International Monitoring Team and presence of an EU expert on Human Rights.
The EU said it will donate €1-million to NGO Foundation Suisse de Deminage to help provide confidence building in Mindanao through mine risk education and mine action capacity.
It will also grant Konrad Adenaeur Stiftung €400,000 to fund political parties; and €800,000-million to NGO Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue to secure attendance in the International Contact Group and to organize dialogues at grass root.
Over the last seven years the EU has become a key actor in support of the Philippine Government-MILF peace process in Mindanao and previous support under Instrument for Stability or Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace.
“We’ve been supporting the peace dialogue and development in Mindanao for a long time, more than 30 years,” Jessen noted.
For the past 25 years, the EU has also been a key actor in the region, known for working alongside the Government of the Philippines to promote peace, human security, and development in the most vulnerable, conflict-affected communities.
Currently more than €35-million or P1.8 billion are invested in ongoing projects under different EU funding tools to provide support to peace in Mindanao through an approach supporting directly the political settlement and longer term sustainable development.
The EU also has allocated up to €325-million or P17 billion to the Philippines from 2014 to 2020 to support the rule of law and inclusive growth in Mindanao.
The institution said there are future projects being rolled out in the area of rule of law to support the regional Human Rights Commission in ARMM.
Projects on job creation and sustainable energy are expected to be approved in 2017 that would contribute to development and stability and bring more opportunities for decent employment and improved livelihoods.
“There is a tremendous potential in the region, and when this is released by a peace agreement, then we will see important economic growth in the region for years to come,” Jessen said.
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