EU extends $39.8 M grants for Mindanao

Published July 12, 2020, 10:00 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The European Union (EU) has extended grants for the Philippines’ ongoing peace and infrastructure development projects in Mindanao, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.

In a statement, the DOF said that EU gave two separate grants amounting to 60.5 million euros or $39.8 million to assist the country’s peacebuilding and development efforts in Mindanao, particularly for the newly created Bangsamoro autonomous government.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III signed the financing agreements for the Mindanao Peace and Development Programme (MINPAD)-RISE Mindanao costing 35.5 million euros and 25 million euros for the Support to Bangsamoro Transition (SUBATRA) program.

The MINPAD-RISE Mindanao project, which is under the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), is estimated to cost a total of 149.5 million euros—co-financed by the EU with the government of Germany and the World Bank.

Following the signing, Dominguez thanked the EU for “its continued support of government efforts to achieve regional growth and financial inclusion, this time by way of a grant that will help MinDA improve infrastructure and create jobs in rural communities.”

“This EU assistance will certainly help the Duterte administration achieve its goal of just and lasting peace and development in southern Philippines, and in supporting genuine autonomy in the Bangsamoro region,” Dominguez said.

Meanwhile, SUBATRA is a 26 million euro five-year project that will be 96 percent funded by the EU in cooperation with the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.

“The SUBATRA program is designed to contribute to a peaceful, cohesive, secure and inclusively developed Bangsamoro,” the DOF said, noting it also aims for the region’s “smooth transition” to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“SUBATRA is expected to boost the capacity of the Bangsamoro executive branch in formulating and implementing transitional policies, and strengthen the BARMM Parliament’s ability to exercise its legislative, oversight and representation functions during the transition,” DOF said.

The EU is a major contributor to the Mindanao Trust Fund for Reconstruction and Development (MTFRD), a multi-donor grant facility established in 2005 to consolidate international development assistance for the socio-economic recovery of conflict-affected communities in southern Philippines.