Mindanao at center of Build, Build, Build

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    Mindanao will remain at the “front and center” of the Build, Build, Build program, the Department of Finance (DOF) said, as the agency has managed to secure highly concessional funding support for infrastructure and peace-building projects in the South despite the pandemic-induced crisis.

    The DOF said in a statement yesterday among the projects for which it has recently sealed loan agreements and grants are the second phase of the Davao City Bypass Construction Project and programs to assist the government in its ongoing peace-building and development efforts in Mindanao, including the ongoing confidence-building initiatives in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and the recovery and rehabilitation efforts for Marawi City.

    “Together with the hundreds of road, railway, port and irrigation projects all over Mindanao, these investments will support job creation, strengthen inclusive and sustainable growth, and promote lasting peace in the region,” Carlos Dominguez, DOF secretary, said in his message at the opening of the 29th Mindanao Business Conference and Sulong Pilipinas-Mindanao session held online.

    Last June 16, the Philippines and Japan signed the loan agreement for the supplemental financing of P18.5 billion (35 billion yen) for the Davao City Bypass Construction Project.

    The project also includes a 2.3-kilometer mountain tunnel that directly connects Barangay Matina Biao and Barangay Waan in Davao City, reducing travel time between the said points to less than five minutes from the usual 44 minutes when passing through local roads.

    The DOF had also signed the financing agreements for grants amounting to a combined $97 million extended by the European Union (EU) for the government’s development and peace-building programs in Mindanao.

    These grants are for the Mindanao Peace and Development Program-Rise Mindanao and Support to Bangsamoro Transition Program.

    “The projects focus on strengthening the institutions of the newly formed Bangsamoro autonomous government, creating jobs and improving community-based infrastructure in the region’s agricultural communities,” Dominguez said.

    Last month, the EU extended a new grant worth $29 million for the Mindanao Peace and Development Programme-Peace and Development in the BARMM to help strengthen the government’s ongoing confidence-building initiatives in the BARMM and assist in the recovery and rehabilitation of Marawi City. — Angela Celis