By Julmunir I. Jannaral
COTABATO CITY— The European Union (EU) has pledged its continued support to the maintaining of peace and recovery in the Bangsamoro region as EU Ambassador Luc Véron visited Camp Abubakar in Barira, Maguindanao on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021.
The EU ambassador visit to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) camp followed the successful launching of the Support to Bangsamoro Transition (SUBATRA) Programme.
Véron pledged the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) community their continued support to peace and recovery in the Bangsamoro region.
“EU will continue to support peace and recovery in BARMM to the best of ability and means […] we are currently working on three new actions to directly benefit the camp transformation through partnerships with UNDP, CHD, and IDEALS and their partners,” Véron said in his keynote message.
The visit was part of witnessing the Phase 3 decommissioning process for the 14,000 Moro Islamic Liberation Front-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (MILF-BIAF) combatants.
The EU will support the peace process including support for the political track, normalization, and confidence building.
“Leaving no one behind”
According to Véron, peace and development are “inextricably intertwined”, that is why a comprehensive approach is being sought to combine their technical and financial cooperation to support the most vulnerable BARMM communities, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals’ commitment of “leaving no one behind”.
Peace and economic development
Véron also mentioned their support for economic development that focuses on capacity building for farmers’ organisations and cooperatives, delivering socio-economic rural services and infrastructures.
For peace, aside from SUBATRA Programme, EU seeks to help in improving the democratic governance environment and capacity building through their Peace and Development in the BARMM (PD BARMM) Programme.
“We intend to support the work of OPAPP, BTA and partners on the ground in their efforts to ensure that decommissioning can be expedited, and camps can be transformed into peaceful and productive communities,” Véron said.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament Alih O. Salik said, “for almost 50 years, the Bangsamoro has been torn from war and conflict […] hope it will help them start and rebuild their economic situation, education, health, and other development interventions.”
The EU delegates will also be traveling to Lanao del Sur to discuss the Marawi reconstruction on Nov. 17-18.
Launching of SUBATRA
Earlier, BARMM and the EU delegation to the Philippines launched the five-year P1.5-billion Support to Bangsamoro Transition (SUBATRA) Programme,last Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.
Bangsamoro Parliament Speaker Pangalian Balindong said SUBATRA aims to help BARMM during the transition period in laying the foundation for lasting peace and development in the region by strengthening its institutions’ democratic governance capacities.
The Bangsamoro transition period includes the passage of priority legislation and the establishment of a BARMM bureaucracy to ensure that basic services are delivered without delay.
Balindong also said SUBATRA supports the BARMM executive, parliament, judiciary, and civil society in strengthening its capacities to drive and coordinate key transitional policies, exercise lawmaking, and oversight functions, adjudicate litigations, improve access to justice, and contribute to a peaceful transition.
Balindong said the formal launch is a milestone for the interim government because it solidifies our partnership to expedite and strengthen the transition mechanism for the new Bangsamoro political entity.
BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Al Hajj Murad” Ebrahim said SUBATRA helps BARMM provide regulatory standards while taking a facilitative and risk-proportionate approach in all levels of its new bureaucracy.
“SUBATRA helps boost the capacity of our regional government in crafting transitional policies and strengthening our Parliament’s ability to exercise its legislative, oversight, and representation functions during this transition period,” said Chief Minister Ebrahim.
The SUBATRA Programme is co-funded by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development. It started in July 2020 and will end in June 2025.
The United Nations Office for Project Services, the Bangsamoro Development Agency, and the Consortium of the Bangsamoro Civil Society are the implementing partners of the SUBATRA Programme. JIJ