EU, UNDP re­lease ₧63 mil­lion to boost Min­danao peace ef­fort

Business Mirror - - NEWS - By Recto Mercene @rec­tomercene

SOME P63 mil­lion (€1.2 mil­lion) was re­leased by the Euro­pean Union (EU) and the United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram (UNDP) on Wed­nes­day to help sus­tain the sus­pended peace ef­forts in Min­danao.

The EU- UNDP con­tri­bu­tion is the last of a pack­age of five projects, to­talling an amount of P288 mil­lion (€ 5.5 mil­lion) ap­proved by the EU in Au­gust last year.

EU Am­bas­sador Franz Jessen and UNDP Philip­pines Coun­try Di­rec­tor Ti­ton Mi­tra pre­sented the “Sup­port Peace-Bangsamoro Project” at a gath­er­ing at the Yuchengco Dela Salle Uni­ver­sity in Makati City.

The project will be im­ple­mented from 2016 to mid-2017.

Jessen said the money would be used to sup­port ca­pac­ity-build­ing for lo­cal lead­ers and other stake­hold­ers on pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion and par­lia­men­tary pro­cesses.

“It will strengthen the con­stituency for peace­build­ing in the Bangsamoro, in­clud­ing es­tab­lish­ing part­ner­ships with lo­cal gov­ern­ment units and civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tions.”

“It will de­velop plat­forms that will en­able the youth and women to ac­tively en­gage in peace­build­ing, and pro­vide sup­port to the Third Party Mon­i­tor­ing of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Com­pre­hen­sive Agree­ment on the Bangsamoro,” he added.

Mi­tra said the new ad­min­is­tra- tion that would be in place fol­low­ing the procla­ma­tion of a new set of of­fi­cials, start­ing with the Pres­i­dent in June this year, would be face with a chal­lenge.

“But then we have to see what is the political will. Will the per­son be able to bring Con­gress on board? Will the Se­nate vote for a leg­is­la­tion which re­ally gives mean­ing to the com­pre­hen­sive agree­ment?” Mi­tra asked.

He an­swered his own ques­tion by say­ing that those who be­lieve in the pas­sage of the Bangsamoro ba­sic law (BBL) have a deep con­stituency, es­pe­cially those who are from Min­danao, be­cause they un­der­stand the cost of hav­ing a ba­sic frame­work.

“If you look at the hu­man de­vel­op­ment in­dex for the Philip­pines, one rea­son that it does not im­prove fur­ther is be­cause you have a part of Philip­pines that is still rid­dled with poverty and where the so­cial con­di­tions are not ap­pro­pri­ate for a mid­dle in­come coun­try,” Mi­tra said.

“So while you have this drag for the rest of the coun­try, it’s a prob­lem peo­ple in Min­danao un­der­stand,” he added.

Mi­tra said the chal­lenge now is for the res­i­dents of Metro Manila and those liv­ing in the en­clave of Makati City to re­ally see the as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween what hap­pens in Min­danao and na­tional progress.

“And that re­ally is a chal­lenge for the next pres­i­dent.”

Mi­tra said he is glad that from what he heard com­ing from pres­i­den- tial can­di­dates that they are all aware about the is­sues sur­round­ing the BBL and have shown a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude to­ward its pas­sage.

“I think we’ve heard from all pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates that this is an im­por­tant is­sue, but the na­ture of the de­bate does not al­low how they will ad­vance the is­sue,” he said.

He added the dif­fi­culty arises be­cause the de­bate al­lows each can­di­date only a brief time to ex­pound on ev­ery sub­ject.

He added, how­ever, that the new ad­min­is­tra­tion would have the time to re­ally re­solve the BBL prob­lem be­cause the his­tory of con­flict in Min­danao had cost so much to the econ­omy and to the peo­ple’s lives.

“The chal­lenge is to re­turn to path of res­o­lu­tion, which is sus­tained peace,” Mi­tra added.

He said the EU and the UNDP’s role is to bring the in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence of au­tonomous re­gion within the frame­work of uni­tary states, and the Philip­pines is not the only coun­try con­fronting that sit­u­a­tion.

“Our role is to make sure that all the stake­hold­ers have a good un­der­stand­ing of the options and the is­sues but it is fun­da­men­tally a Filipino process.”

“It’s not for in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions to do with these is­sues but to re­ally fa­cil­i­tate knowl­edge-based, to make in­formed de­ci­sions about how to make this move for­ward,” Mi­tra added.

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