THE European Union (EU) will provide 150 million euros (P8.5 billion) worth of grants to support agricultural development in Mindanao and electricity projects for small island communities in the southern Philippines, the Department of Finance (DoF) said in a statement.

The DoF said Thursday that Thomas Wiersing, the charge d’affaires of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, committed to the financial aid.

At a recent meeting, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III expressed his gratitude for the grants, as well as the EU’s earlier commitment to reorient parts of its aid to help the region deal with the pandemic.

The EU said in July it will reorient up to 15 million euros to support the region’s attempts to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Mr. Dominguez also proposed that the plan to support the electrification of small island communities involve the use of clean energy.

The proposal was supported by the EU Delegation, the DoF said.

The latest grant will add to the 85 million euros worth of total grants the EU provided to the region so far this year.

The EU provided grants worth 24.5 million euros to the Philippines in August to fund the rehabilitation of Marawi City and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s pandemic containment effort.

In July, it also agreed to provide 60.5 million euros to fund selected development programs in Mindanao.

The EU is the country’s 11th biggest source of official development assistance.

During the same meeting, Mr. Dominguez also sought the EU’s assistance in making the manufacturing sector more competitive, specifically in integrating medium-sized enterprises with the supply chains of larger firms. — Beatrice M. Laforga