Press Clip Source: Inquirer
Date: March 15, 2016
Written by: Nestor Corrales
Read original article: Here
A delegation of ambassadors from the European Union (EU) has visited Mindanao to renew their commitment to support the peace process and development in the region.
“Our visit to Cotabato City highlights the EU and its member states’ continuing support for the Mindanao peace process and development in the region,” EU Ambassador Franz Jessen said in statement on Tuesday.
“Our hopes remain high that the positive gains achieved in the peace process will be sustained despite some challenges, especially as the parties remained engaged and committed to continue their journey to peace,” he added.
Aside from Jessen, other members of the EU who visited Mindanao on March 14 to 15 were Ambassadors Marion Derckx (Netherlands), Thomas Ossowski (Germany), Chargés d’Affaires Mihai Sion (Romania), Nigel Boud (United Kingdom), Deputy Ambassadors Fabio Schina (Italy), Xavier Leblanc (Belgium), Gabrielle Zobl-Kratschmann (Austria), Maria del Carmen Barcia-Bustelo (Spain), Laurent Legodec (France), Attachés Riccardo Dell’Aquila (Italy), Diego Sanchez (EU Delegation), Program Manager Edoardo Manfredini (EU Delegation).
Jessen said the EU would continue to support the efforts of the parties that recently met again in Kuala Lumpur to discuss the peace process in Mindanao.
“We are looking forward to supporting the agenda for peace of the next [administration] as we carry on our collaborative efforts with all the concerned stakeholders for peace,” he said.
The group met with Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Representatives, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chairman Al Haj Murad and MILF Central Committee, the Mindanao Humanitarian Team, non-government and civil society organizations involved in peace and development initiatives in Mindanao and the business community.
The EU said it has adapted its funding programs to the changing needs of the peace process.
“Last December 2015, the European Union Delegation to the Philippines has launched a new program in support of the peace process and is providing P275 million to allow for a smooth transition and to create conditions for the establishment of the autonomous region of the Bangsamoro and the election of its government,” the EU said.
EU said the “program contributes to peace building and conflict mitigation, support the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro and strengthen local institutions and political processes.”
“The grants are being channelled through Conciliation Resources; non-government organizations (NGOs) such as the Non Violent Peace Forces, Fondation Suisse de Deminage, Konrad Adenaeur Stiftung; United Nations Development Programme and Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue,” it said. RAM