Projects under MTF turned over to communities

Posted on February 20, 2017

CONFLICT-affected areas in Mindanao will continue to receive aid from both the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) through livelihood and infrastructure projects as provisions in the peace agreement are rolled out pending the passage of a new Bangsamoro law.

Ustadz Mohammad Yacob, executive director of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), a development arm of the MILF, said these war-torn communities will be developed through projects funded by the World Bank-administered Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF).

Yesterday, the MTF handed over a rice mill, solar dryer and a warehouse to Barangay Cabpangi, Pigcawayan in North Cotabato, benefitting around 1,704 residents.

This was part of the Bangsamoro Assistance for Development and Community Empowerment (Bangsamoro ADVANCE), a program jointly pioneered by the government, the MILF, and the MTF to support the Bangsamoro peace process.

“These community projects highlight what we can achieve if we work together. It’s one of the many examples that we see every day resulting from the continued commitment of both the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Government of the Philippines to pursue peace and development in the Bangsamoro and Mindanao in general,” Mr. Yacob said in a statement.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus G. Dureza, for his part, said: “More importantly, as a partnership between the government and the MILF, it has built confidence and social cohesion at the community level, which is an important factor to sustain the momentum of peace and development in Mindanao.”

Mr. Dureza added that the MTF has helped make basic services such as clean water, access roads, farming equipment and community centers more accessible to Bangsamoro communities such as Barangay Cabpangi.

The European Union (EU) also supports community-based programs jointly assisted by the government and the MILF to help conflict-affected families.

“This project demonstrates that with continued collaboration and support from the government and the MILF, people in conflict-affected communities are capable of developing initiatives to uplift their lives,” said EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen.

“Projects funded by the MTF help build a strong foundation for just and lasting peace. The European Union is committed to supporting inclusive development that benefits all peoples of Mindanao,” said Mr. Jessen.

On March 7, the final turnover ceremony will be held at the MILF Camp in Rajamuda where officials from the national government and MILF panel chairs are expected to attend.

Bangsamoro ADVANCE, which provides livelihood and infrastructure projects in 50 conflict-affected communities in 25 MILF base camps, aims to improve livelihood and access to basic services, increase local capacity in project planning, implementation and management and strengthen communities.

So far, the MTF has helped finance the construction of new roads, classrooms, health clinics, and community centers and improved access to electricity and water supply, benefiting more than 650,000 people in 316 communities from 75 municipalities. -- Danica M. Uy