Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Monday, October 6, 2008

EU allots €7M for Mindanao

The European Union has earmarked seven million euros for two separate projects aimed to help civilian victims of the ongoing Mindanao conflict, EU Ambassador to the country Alistair MacDonald told reporters in a press conference Monday.

The allotments, which were decided by the European Commission in Belgium last week following a needs assessment last September, were made despite the worldwide financial crisis that also saw the bailout of some European banks.

Four million euros from the total will go to immediate humanitarian assistance for the estimated 500,000 people who were displaced by the fighting that erupted soon after the Supreme Court stopped in August the signing of the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

MacDonald said the four million euros, to be channeled through EU partners like the United Nations, the International Red Cross, and non-government organizations, would be spent on emergency items like food, water, sanitation, non-food items, basic shelter, health care and psycho-social support, and livelihood rehabilitation and protection.

He said this emergency humanitarian assistance would cover the needs of the displaced civilians from six to nine months.

The rest of the grant will be for two-year rehabilitation assistance from now until 2010.

The three million euros "has already been under preparation for some time, even before the renewed outbreak of violence, and was intended to address the problems facing civilians who had been displaced by fighting over recent years, but who had not been able to return fully to their former way of life," the ambassador said.

This second amount, to be implemented by the United Nations Development Programme as part of its Act for Peace program, will provide for both the displaced and the host communities.

MacDonald said the multi-sectoral assistance of this allocation would also address the psychosocial problems of long-term and repeated displacement, and work to rebuild social cohesion in affected communities in 14 provinces.

Over the last 10 years, and including this latest assistance, the EU has provided 126 million euros in development, humanitarian, and rehabilitation assistance to Mindanao.

EU is also the largest donor for the Mindanao Trust Fund, which was established in 2005 by the World Bank following a request by the Philippine government to strengthen assistance to conflict-affected areas in Mindanao. It provides about half of the current total MTF of $8.9 million.

(EU contributions to the Mindanao Trust Fund total 2 million euros. The other donors are Sweden, 1 million euros; Australia, $370,000; Canada, $1.56 million; New Zealand, $200,000; the United States, $750,000; and World Bank, $1.5 million.)

(Veronica Uy - INQ.net)

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