Chair of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel Mohagher Iqbal commended the local communities for taking ownership in addressing their most pressing livelihood needs.
“The dividends of the program are the first of a long series of steps towards attaining our hopes for the Bangsamoro,” said Iqbal. “I call on you to sustain the gains of this support to merit the trust placed by donors whose funding have come from the taxes of their citizens. Managing these projects well will honor the sacrifices of our brothers and sisters. We are responsible for the direction of our future, so let us continue to work together so our children and grandchildren can finally lead lives of peace, equality and dignity.”
Camp Rajamuda is one of the six MILF camps recognized by the government in the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB). The camp covers communities in remote valleys in Maguindanao and North Cotabato.
Many residents have been displaced because of recurring armed conflicts since the 1970s which destroyed their livelihoods, their schools and mosques, pushing many of them deeper into poverty.
Financed by the MTF, these community projects are part of the Camps program designed by the government and MILF as part of the confidence-building measures under the CAB.
“The government and MILF are addressing the immediate socioeconomic needs of communities to help them stand on their own,” said Government Chair of the Implementing Panel Irene Santiago. “We are also strengthening their capacities as formal organizations in preparation for a more comprehensive strategy, wherein the Bangsamoro people themselves will direct the transformation of their areas into peaceful and productive communities.”
The MTF Camps program has provided livelihood support, infrastructure and literacy programs to about 68,000 beneficiaries living in 31 conflict-affected communities inside Camps Bad’r, Bilal, Bushra, Rajamuda, Omar and Abubakar. It has helped strengthen social unity among these communities and helped build trust in the government and MILF’s commitment to delivering on the promises of the peace agreement.
Ambassador Franz Jessen of the European Union (EU), the largest donor to the MTF, reiterated the EU’s commitments to support the peace process.
“When just peace is established, investments in economic development will be sustained,” said Ambassador Jessen. “This is why the EU is involved in programs like the Mindanao Trust Fund to help form social structures that will equip Bangsamoro communities to build a progressive environment reflecting their diverse customs and aspirations.”
“The assistance provided to conflict-affected communities in Camp Rajamuda is a strong demonstration of the international community’s ongoing support for peace and development in Mindanao,” said World Bank Country Director Mara Warwick. “A stable and prosperous Mindanao will help accelerate broad-based growth in the Philippines.”
The Camps program has also built the capacities of 31 community organizations in project planning, implementation and management and strengthened the capacities of MILF members to lead in community development planning and facilitation.
MTF donors from the European Union, Sweden, Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and the World Bank funded the PhP 90 million Camps program, wherein each of the Six Acknowledged MILF Camps received PhP 15 million for socioeconomic recovery. Community and Family Services International (CFSI) serves as the implementing agency.
The Mindanao Trust Fund
Administered by the World Bank, the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF) is a multi-donor grant facility established to consolidate international development assistance for the socioeconomic recovery of conflict-affected communities in Mindanao. The MTF funds programs and projects that promote economic opportunity, provide access to basic services, and build social cohesion to help create stable and secure communities.
The MTF also builds capacities of institutions in Mindanao for development planning and local governance. Inaugurated in 2006, the main partner of the MTF is the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), the development arm of the MILF, with technical support from Community and Family Services International (CFSI), the Mindanao Land Foundation (MinLand), and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The longest running development program in Mindanao, the MTF has a Steering Committee that oversees the strategy, implementation and evaluation of the program. It is chaired by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), and the World Bank, which also serves as the Trust Fund Secretariat. Since 2006, the European Union, Sweden, Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and the World Bank have provided PhP 1.4 billion (USD 28.9 million) to the program. The European Union is the largest contributor, having provided Php 1.17 billion (USD 22 million) to the program.
Mindanao Trust Fund Secretariat
Soraya Ututalum, (0917) 578 1319, firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, visit mtf.ph