MANILA, Aug 24 (Mabuhay) — The Philippines has inked a €24.5-million financing agreement with the European Union, its third so far this year, to finance initiatives in the Bangsamoro region and assist in the rehabilitation of Marawi City.

In a statement released Monday, the Department of Finance (DOF) said the financing agreement (FA) was signed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

The FA has provisions for the Mindanao Peace and Development Programme – Peace and Development in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MINPAD-PD BARMM).

The program has a total estimated cost of €35.1 million, which will be co-financed with the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Australian government.

The biggest share will come from the EU agreement with €24.5 million, while the other donors will contribute an indicative amount of €10 million.

The DOF said other potential grant benefactors will provide the remaining €600,000.

The agreement was earlier signed by Pierre Amilhat, director for Asia, Central Asia, Middle East/Gulf and the Pacific of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International and Development.

Under the agreement, €5 million of the grant will be dedicated to the recovery and rehabilitation of areas devastated by the 2017 Marawi siege, and €3 million will be allocated for efforts against COVID-19 in the Bangsamoro region.

“This third grant from the EU this year underpins this major economic bloc’s unwavering commitment to the attainment of genuine and lasting peace and development in Southern Philippines along with the speedy recovery of conflict-devastated Marawi City,” Dominguez was quoted as saying in the statement.

“We cannot thank enough the EU and our other development partners for their ceaseless support for government efforts to spell peace in Mindanao and enable the island to achieve its full growth potentials on the Duterte watch,” he added.

Prior to this, the EU already extended two grants with a combined worth of €60.5 million, also to assist in peacebuilding and development efforts in Mindanao.

The grants were for the Mindanao Peace and Development Programme – RISE Mindanao, and the Support to Bangsamoro Transition.

In the same statement, the DOF said separate contribution agreements will be negotiated between the European Commission and the World Bank as third-party administration of the Bangsamoro Normalization Trust Fund (BNTF).

The BNTF is a multi-donor trust fund that was established after the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

It aims to finance, coordinate, and oversee the delivery of assistance from international partners and other donors in the implementation of programs that would help decommissioned combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) return to the mainstream society. (MNS)

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