THE UNITED STATES on Tuesday announced a P595 million extension of the Mindanao Peace and Development Assistance Agreement, which supports various governance capacity-building projects in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao.
In a statement by the US Embassy on Thursday, the bilateral agreement between the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) will enhance governance, expand economic opportunities, provide infrastructure, and strengthen the foundations of peace in the region.
Acting USAID Mission Director Patrick Wesner and MinDA chair Datu Abul Khayr Dangcal Alonto signed the extension of the agreement, which brings the total US government support to the partnership since 2007 to over P7 billion.
“Today, the US government reaffirms our commitment to walking alongside you and offering support as we relentlessly pursue our shared vision of prosperity and peace in Mindanao,” Mr. Wesner said in a statement.
The US Embassy also stated that the findings from a US-sponsored study on Mindanao’s food, energy, and land resources will guide a robust and evidence-based strategy for advancing economic growth in the region.
Under the agreement, USAID and MinDA have partnered to upgrade infrastructure, such as airport runways, water systems, bridges, and roads, and to build farm-to-market roads.
USAID has also partnered with local governments and civil society organizations in Mindanao to promote local governance good practices and decrease community conflict. The US Embassy said more than 170,000 residents have benefited from the use of social accountability tools.
The partnerships have also provided job training to more than 28,000 former combatants to enable them to pursue productive livelihoods and have improved the capacity of more than 630 rural banks in providing financial services. — Camille A. Aguinaldo