THE US government has pledged more than P3.5 billion in various development projects in Mindanao in the next few years, a statement released Tuesday by the US Embassy in Manila said.
These include the efforts to build the Roll-on, Roll-off or RO-RO Nautical Highway, which will connect the cities of Davao and General Santos to Bitung in Sulawesi Island, Indonesia.
The statement said the bilateral partnership has expanded from cooperation on counterterrorism, child protection and piracy, to a broader domain of economic development in Mindanao.
At the luncheon meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce- Mindanao, US Ambassador Sung Y. Kim also conveyed the US government’s support for “the vibrant US-Philippine economic relations.”
The ambassador said in honoring Women’s History Month, the embassy through the US Agency for International Development supports a training program for women in net-weaving.
The woven abaca rope finished product is used to reinforce the natural vegetation fiber in preventing erosion and landslides along the roadways in Ramon Magsaysay, Zamboanga del Sur.
This will strengthen economic ties and generate increased revenues and savings on exports, the statement noted.
The ambassador also cited a few concrete examples of Philippines-US economic cooperation, including the business process outsourcing industry in which US-based clients generate an estimated 40,000 BPO jobs in Mindanao.
Cargill, a US agricultural corporation, exports P7.5 billion worth of coconut oil every year, much of which comes from Mindanao, supporting tens of thousands of Mindanao farmers, the statement said.
Together with its partners GIZ and BASF, Cargill has trained more than 1,000 coconut farmers since 2011 on improving agricultural practices, it said.
The statement said 300 small farmers from the region have been certified to produce the world’s first Rainforest Alliance certified copra, raising their incomes by 15 percent.
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