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MANILA - After the adoption of the Decision Points on Principles by the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in April, the European Union saw this as a signal of significant progress in the negotiation and decided to further support the peace process with a fresh 9 million euros (about P460 million) grant program.
This assistance package will enable the EU to expand its support for the peaceful negotiation and hopefully implementation of an agreement over the next three years through its continuing participation in the International Monitoring Team (IMT), the EU Delegation to the Philipines said in a news release.
The new funding will enable EU to continue to lead the humanitarian, rehabilitation, and development component of the IMT and increase its support to the local and international non-governmental organizations that comprise the latter's civilian protection component.
EU will now also able to provide increased funding to the International Contact Group through its informal non-governmental coordinator.
Thirdly, the EU Delegation said, it will support a series of confidence-building measures, including the joint clearing of unexploded ordnances and the promotion of women's rights, as well as various initiatives in the fields of governance and security still to be determined.
"With this comprehensive three-fold assistance, the EU intends to help the parties achieve and put into effect a peacefully negotiated settlement to the conflict which is the unique way to ultimately bring peace and prosperity in Mindanao and for the benefit of the whole country," EU Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux said.
Overall EU support for Philippines
This renewed involvement and expanded support from the EU is another illustration of its commitment to promote conflict resolution based on democratic values and respect for human rights, justice and solidarity, economic prosperity, and sustainable development, the EU Delegation said.
"Despite all the international support drawing on valuable experience and expertise gained elsewhere, it is the duty of the parties to find for themselves with the approval of their constituents, an acceptable and durable solution to a conflict that has lasted for far too long," the Ambassador said.
This new contribution follows on two previous EU programs in support to the peace process bringing the total EU financial contribution to 13 million euros or P660 million.
In 2008, the negotiations collapsed and relapsed into armed conflict following the failed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain. The EU then decided to support local and international efforts to encourage a resumption of peace negotiations.
This decision by the EU to directly support the promotion of peace as well as two years later to take part in the International Monitoring Team, was notably aimed at complementing its significant humanitarian, rehabilitation, and development cooperation to address the root causes and the immediate consequences of the conflict, the EU Delegation said.
Since the 1990s, the EU has been active in helping address poverty and development in Mindanao as a contribution for the advancement of the on-going peace negotiations between the parties to the conflict.
More than €170 million (P9 billion) in grant funding has gone towards programs such as:
1. The rehabilitation of internally displaced persons.
3. Increasing the revenues of the most vulnerable members of society and responding to humanitarian crises.