By Ali G. Macabalang
DAVAO CITY – The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the European Union (EU) through the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) German Cooperation and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) have launched the Mindanao Peace and Development (MinPAD) RISE Programme to further foster growth in Southern Philippines.
MinDA Executive Director Undersecretary Janet Lopoz and officials in the partner entities held a virtual conference on November 4 to launch the program.
Usec. Lopoz said the EU supported the MinPAD RISE program to hasten the establishment of various agri-fisheries facilities in several areas of the island region, including production and logistics mechanisms rallying Mindanao’s economic recovery amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement from Dr. Adrian Tamayo, head of the MinDA communications and public affairs department.
The MinPAD RISE program is a peace building and economic recovery assistance backed by the European Union, encompassing “a major component the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) which will be managed and implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the World Bank and the other component,” Tamayo said.
“It is important that as stakeholders and partners in Mindanao’s development we are informed of all the various efforts that we are all putting together to contribute towards making our Mindanao a more integrated, more inclusive, resilient, sustainable and peaceful Mindanao,” Usec. Lopoz said in the statement.
The program utilizes EUR 55 million (an estimated Php3.29 billion) for a five-year economic development targeting the whole of Mindanao, including the Bangsamoro region. MinPAD serves as the leading EU contribution to support inclusive growth and strengthen the peace-building process in Mindanao, the statement said.
“We hope that we can better think about how we can complement our initiative. And let’s see how best we can put together our efforts, complement and strengthen our partnerships,” Lopoz stressed.
She said the program aims to contribute to a peaceful, cohesive, secure and inclusively developed Mindanao. “The project identified and the design for the program pertains to addressing inequality and vulnerability of several segments of the society by reducing poverty, boosting productivity and immediately revving up the economy or economic recovery,’ Lopez said.
During the virtual meeting, EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron said the collaboration is just the beginning of what they hoped to be a successful and meaningful action for Mindanao communities, especially the farmers.
“This project comes at difficult times with the pandemic and its negative impact on the economy and the well-being of the communities. This is not the first European Union’s project in Mindanao nor will be it the last. Over the past 10 years, we have supported the peace process in Mindanao by facilitating the political dialogue to ease tensions within communities,” Ambassadort Veron said.
Veron cited that EU has also been the main contributor to the multi-million donor Mindanao Trust Fund that supports socio-economic recovery of people living in conflict-affected areas, including the different ex-combatants camps.
“This new project is consistent with our EU vision, which calls for an integrated approach to conflicts, addressing extreme poverty, inequality and chronic fragility. With you, our partners, we co-designed MinPAD RISE. It is linked to two priorities and objectives – inclusive growth and job creation and peace building in Mindanao,” he said. (AGM)