EU Confirms its Support for the Mindanao Peace Process

From November 15 to 19, European Union (EU) Ambassador Luc Véron will visit EU development and humanitarian projects in Central and Northern Mindanao, as well as meet with local interlocutors. 

His visit is a reaffirmation of the European Union’s commitment to the peace process and development in Mindanao through an inclusive and comprehensive strategy. 

The EU contributes to the political settlement by sending an expert in humanitarian and human rights law to the International Monitoring Team, which oversees the implementation of all of the parties’ commitments, including the 2014 peace accord. 

The EU Ambassador will meet with officials from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), IMT Deputy Head of Mission First Admiral Yusman bin Ostaldi RMN, Bangsamoro Transition Authority Parliament Speaker Ali Pangalian Balindong, and local government officials from Cotabato, Marawi, Iligan, Lanao del Sur, and Lanao del Norte during his first regional outreach in Mindanao. 

The Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines, in collaboration with the BARMM, will formally start the five-year Support to Bangsamoro Transition (SUBATRA) Programme on November 15. The P1.5 billion program intends to assist BARMM in laying the groundwork for long-term peace and development in the region by bolstering the institutions’ capacities throughout the transition phase. 

Ambassador Véron’s meeting with officials from the BARMM and other stakeholders is part of the EU-funded program ”Peace and Development in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” which aims to improve community social cohesion and resiliency while addressing the region’s health, social, and economic effects of COVID-19. 

New initiatives are also being planned to help the Moro Islamic Liberation Front convert its camps into peaceful and productive communities. 

Véron will work with humanitarian partners and stakeholders in Cotabato City and Lanao provinces as part of the COVID-19 response. 

He’ll meet with Lanao Del Sur Governor Mamintal Alonto Adiong, Lanao Del Norte Governor Imelda Dimaporo, and education and other government officials in Marawi and Pantar, as well as schoolchildren from the Education in “Emergencies Project” in the Sagonsongan temporary transition site and Darul Fitya Litahfidel Qur-an Toril. 

Around P1.4 billion has been set aside to help communities in the BARMM enhance their social cohesiveness and resiliency, as well as to address the health, social, and economic consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It also aims to maintain the hard-won peace by assisting the incoming administration, parliament, legal system, and civil society during the transition period. 

Rise Mindanao, an EU program, focuses on the immediate goal of food security by helping agro-cooperatives and boosting local government service delivery. With a P2 billion grant from the European Union, this initiative intends to create jobs for farmers, women, youth, and indigenous people. 

The EU is also working on COVID-19 communication campaigns with partner civil society organisations (CSOs). COVID-19 advocacy materials are being prepared to educate communities on how to prevent the virus and cope with it. To promote public comprehension of COVID-19, multilingual movies and infographics are being made and widely disseminated, particularly among youth and women. 

The EU has donated a total of P1.2 billion in humanitarian aid in the last five years, including P596 million in emergency response, P380 million in disaster planning, and P221 million in emergency education.