The European Union (EU) has extended two grants worth a total of 60.5 million euros, or approximately P3.38 billion, to the Philippine government to assist in its ongoing peacebuilding and development efforts in Mindanao, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
The DOF said in a statement the focus will be on strengthening the institutions of the newly formed Bangsamoro autonomous government, creating jobs and improving community-based infrastructure in the island’s agricultural communities.
Carlos Dominguez, DOF secretary, on behalf of the Philippine government, signed on June 26 the financing agreement (FA) for the Mindanao Peace and Development Programme (MINPAD)-RISE Mindanao transmitted by the EU to formalize the 35.5 million euro grant for the project.
He also signed a separate FA for the 25 million euro grant for the Support to Bangsamoro Transition (SUBATRA) program on July 1.
The MINPAD-RISE Mindanao project, to be implemented by the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), will be co-financed by the EU with the government of Germany for an indicative amount of 4 million euros and the World Bank, for an indicative amount of $130 million.
The total cost of the entire project is 149.5 million euros.
Upon the signing of the FAs, Dominguez thanked the EU for its continued support of government efforts to achieve regional growth and financial inclusion, this time by way of a grant that will help MinDA improve infrastructure and create jobs in rural communities.
“This EU assistance will certainly help the Duterte administration achieve its goal of just and lasting peace and development in southern Philippines, and in supporting genuine autonomy in the Bangsamoro region,” Dominguez said.
According to the DOF’s International Finance Group, RISE Mindanao aims to “contribute to a peaceful, cohesive, secure and inclusively developed Mindanao” and “improve social cohesion, resiliency of communities, and increased economic opportunities in Mindanao.”
Among the expected outputs of the RISE Mindanao project is the strengthened capacities of agricultural cooperatives for better service delivery and creation of an enabling environment for the private sector and the improvement of community-based socio-economic infrastructure providing basic economic and social services to communities.
For the five-year SUBATRA, the EU provided 96 percent of the estimated total project cost of 26 million euros, with its 25 million euro grant, while the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation committed to cover the remaining one million euros.
The SUBATRA program is designed to “contribute to a peaceful, cohesive, secure and inclusively developed Bangsamoro” and “establish an enabling democratic governance environment for a smooth implementation of the transition in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).”
SUBATRA is expected to boost the capacity of the Bangsamoro executive branch in formulating and implementing transitional policies, and strengthen the BARMM parliament’s ability to exercise its legislative, oversight and representation functions during the transition.
Improving the capacity of BARMM’s multifaceted Bangsamoro Justice System to adjudicate legislation that are aligned with international human rights standards and enhancing the role of civil society in contributing to a peaceful transition in the autonomous region are also among the expected outputs of the program, the DOF said.