By Roy C. Mabasa
The United States embassy in Manila has launched a P18.5-million #ForMindanao campaign supporting 37 projects throughout Mindanao as part of its continuing response to the Marawi crisis.
The embassy said the project will be led by Filipino alumni of various US government-sponsored exchanges, “many of whom have already played a crucial role in responding to humanitarian needs in Marawi and surrounding areas.”
The projects, according to the US embassy, will address educational enrichment, economic development, and the psycho-social effects of conflict, among other pressing needs in the region.
“Their immediate response to the Marawi crisis and their engagement in the US Embassy’s #ForMindanaocampaign exemplifies the commitment of US exchange alumni to work together to advance the prosperity of all Filipinos,” it said.
The year-long campaign, according to the embassy, “will impact around 13,500 people, focusing especially on out-of-school youth, university students,madrasa students,and women in Mindanao.”
To date, the US government has announced over P1 billion for recovery and rehabilitation of Marawi and surrounding areas through the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
Apart from that, the US government also funds extensive counter-terrorism, law enforcement, development, health, and countering violent extremism programs across Mindanao.
In November last year, the US embassy awarded more than P9.7 million to support 17 community-based projects led by US exchange alumni, including agro-enterprise development, a roving toy library for children of the internally displaced families, and Project YACAP (Youth Amplifying, Co-creating, and Advocating Peace), a peace advocacy initiative.
“Project YACAP was inspired by our experiences as volunteers in the evacuation centers and by our friends who have been affected by the siege. The project will bring youth into the conversation on peace and security in Mindanao,” according to project leader Lynrose Genon, an alumna of the Philippine Youth Leadership Program, a month-long high school student exchange in the United States.
The embassy said that since 1948, the US government has sponsored people-to-people exchanges that have built the leadership and professional capacities of more than 8,000 Filipinos from around the country.