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EU gives P312 million for 300,000 displaced people in Mindanao

THE European Union (EU) has provided P312 million to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to boost the livelihood recovery of 50,000 families or 300,000 persons displaced by the past conflict in Mindanao.

The grant of Є5.9 million (P312 million) under the Aid to Uprooted People Program will fund the project “Enhancing the Resilience of Internally Displaced Persons in Central Mindanao by Strengthening Livelihoods” for two years. The EU contribution will provide sustainable resettlement of displaced people and support in the longer-term recovery process.

Through this initiative, small-scale granaries as well as food- and cash-for-work activities will be implemented for agricultural cooperatives, farmers and fishermen, and provide them with production, post-harvest and value-chain support. Projects such as watershed management, reforestation and agro-forestry will be promoted in the interior uplands to ensure a better living environment for the internally displaced persons.

Mangrove replanting and biodiversity restoration and conservation will be further strengthened in coastal communities.

WFP will lead the program implementation in close collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform and Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

A signing ceremony between the EU and WFP was held on Monday at the office of the DSWD in Quezon City, to formalize the partnership.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux said this support will directly address poverty alleviation for the poorest in Mindanao, especially during the crucial transition phase following the signing of the framework agreement. 

“As a major development partner in poverty alleviation in Mindanao since 1990, this grant is a strong re-affirmation of the European Union’s support to the development of Mindanao, and this will no doubt continue in the light of the recent peace framework agreement,” he said. “We are very grateful to the EU for their continuous assistance to WFP and its work in the Philippines. As we know, the EU has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing peace in Europe.”

In part, the EU in the Philippines is proactively promoting the Mindanao peace process through this significant and timely EU grant, which will enable WFP to help conflict-affected communities quickly recover and rebuild,” said WFP Philippines Representative and Country Director Stephen Anderson.

“The EU’s support through DSWD’s partner, WFP, is a welcome development, which is expected to boost and complement the government of the Philippines’s efforts to achieve sustainable peace and development in Mindanao,” said Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Juliano-Soliman.

“The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is greatly encouraged by the show of support for the peace process. This assistance will facilitate the work ahead, as we move towards achieving peace and development for the Bangsamoro,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mohagher Iqbal, chairman of the MILF negotiating panel, said they greatly appreciate the help EU has extended to promote peace in Mindanao and to improve the living conditions of the people, especially the internally displaced persons.

The EU grant comes on top of the grant of P462 million to support the peace process in Mindanao announced by Ambassador Ledoux in July 2012. The earlier grant will finance the humanitarian, rehabilitation and development component of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), where EU is one of the major stakeholders. 

This will also cover support to local and international non-governmental organizations, which make up the civilian protection component of the IMT.

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