EU Ambassador visits development projects in Cordillera; will meet beneficiaries

Published October 20, 2021, 1:16 PM

by Betheena Unite

European Union (EU) Ambassador Luc Véron will visit the various EU-funded development projects in the Cordillera Administrative Region during his first regional outreach in the Philippines starting today, Oct. 20 until Friday, Oct. 22.

EU Ambassador Luc Véron (Photo courtesy of the European Union in the Philippines)

The EU ambassador is set to pay courtesy visits to Baguio City Mayor and contact tracing czar Benjamin Magalong and Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan and will also engage with local stakeholders.

He will hold a dialogue with indigenous people’s champions from different tribes in the Cordilleras. The “Indigenous Peoples Champions from the Philippines” is an EU project with a grant of P14 million which aims to support indigenous peoples in the Bangsamoro and Cordillera and to engage national and sub-national institutions with a mandate to protect and promote indigenous rights.

This is also in keeping with the EU’s recognition of the important role of the indigenous peoples in nurturing culture and tradition and in protecting the environment. The project is implemented by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, a Sweden based international organisation in partnership with a Philippine NGO, Institute for Autonomy and Governance, Inc.

During his first regional outreach, the EU ambassador will also hand over inclusive disaster and climate risk modules and inclusive early warning kits to civil society organizations and local government officials in Itogon, Benguet.

The initiative is done in the context of the EMPOWER project, which aims to strengthen the resilience of high-risk communities in disaster and climate risk governance in the municipalities of Itogon and Pinukpuk.

EMPOWER stands for “Empowering Municipalities, Barangays, Civil Society Organizations and People’s Organizations through Working Together to Enhance Disaster and Climate Risk Governance.” It started in January 2020 and covers 23 barangays from Pinukpuk and nine barangays from Itogon with a grant of P22 million. The project is implemented by the Adventist and Relief Agency and Humanity and Inclusion.

Véron will also meet with officials from Saint Louis University and the University of the Cordilleras–the grantees of capacity-building EU Erasmus+ projects, a series of transnational cooperation projects between higher education institutions from the EU and from partner countries including the Philippines.

Véron said that “this first of a series of outreach activities will help the EU Delegation understand the realities on the ground while ensuring safety of participants in accordance with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) protocols.”