OPAPP lauds EU’s support to peace process PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 10:42

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles today expressed her gratitude to the European Union (EU) for its continuing support to the Mindanao peace process. The EU is set to extend an additional € 8 million (P467 million) to boost development in conflict-affected communities in Mindanao, increasing its total development grant assistance to the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF) to € 12 million (P695 million).

The EU and the World Bank signed the Contribution Agreement on Monday at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) headquarters in Pasig City.

According to Deles, the agreement “formalizes the expansion of EU’s contribution to the Mindanao Trust Fund - Reconstruction and Development Programme or MTF-RDP.”

The MTF-RDP is a multi-donor facility that aims “to improve social and economic recovery in conflict-affected communities of Mindanao through activities which promote confidence-building, peace and demand-driven governance.” The contribution will be duly allocated to various program components, namely block grants, capacity building and institution building, and monitoring and evaluation.

“As I understand, the additional funds will be used to support the Sajahatra Bangsamoro, the joint development program of the Government of the Philippines and the MILF; as well as the Bangsamoro Development Planning. The additional contribution will make EU the biggest contributor of MTF to date. As Co-Chair of the MTF, OPAPP extends again our thanks,” added Deles.

A joint press conference led by Deles and EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs was also held to announce the Union’s expanded contribution to peace efforts in the Philippines.

Prior to the ceremonies, Deles, together with other OPAPP officials, held a brief meeting with Piebalgs and EU Head of Delegation to the Philippines Ambassador Guy Ledoux, to discuss “the current status of the Mindanao peace processes, as well as some details of EU’s on-going participation and development assistance to the GPH-MILF peace process…”

In her welcome statement, Deles also thanked the EU for its generosity to victims of natural and man-made disasters in the country of late. We thank the EU for the financial assistance they have extended to communities affected by recent disasters in Mindanao, in Bohol, and now, in Central Visayas for which they have announced their deployment of teams from EU’s Emergency Response Coordination Centre to help with the assessment efforts of the Philippine Government.”

EU contribution to peace process

EU ‘s support to the Philippine peace process has been in the form of grant assistance for programs and projects in Mindanao through the MTF-RDP, direct participation to the peace process as a member of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), and more recently, by funding the operation of the newly-created TPMT.

Established in 2005, the MTF-RDP is co-chaired by OPAPP, World Bank and the Bangsamoro Development Authority (BDA). As of August 2013, it has already delivered 254 sub-projects benefitting over 320,000 people in 215 villages across 79 municipalities in Mindanao.

The IMT is a a body mandated to monitor the ceasefire, humanitarian, rehabilitation, development, and civilian protection agreements between the government and the MILF. As a member of the IMT, the EU observes and monitors the humanitarian, rehabilitation and development aspects of the GPH-MILF agreements. It also checks the observance of international humanitarian law and respect for human rights as well as encourages other parties and civil society groups to assist in the monitoring process.

Meanwhile, the independent Third Party Monitoring Team is mandated to monitor, review and assess the implementation of all signed agreements, particularly the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its annexes, between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF.

“We are thankful and look forward to a strengthened and sustained partnership that will make this Administration’s vision of a just and lasting peace for a progressive Mindanao a reality,” Deles said.

In addition to EU’s assistance, its individual member countries likewise directly provide assistance to the Philippines through various bilateral development cooperation agreements that cover areas such as poverty reduction, rural development, sustainable economic development, peace process, among others.