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WB assures MILF of development projects despite delays in peace process

/ 05:40 PM September 15, 2015
A CHILD carries a streamer expressing support for the peace process in a rally attended by thousands of residents in Cotabato City last year. KARLOS MANLUPIG/INQUIRER MINDANAO

A CHILD carries a streamer expressing support for the peace process in a rally attended by thousands of residents in Cotabato City last year. KARLOS MANLUPIG/INQUIRER MINDANAO

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The head of the World Bank in Asia Pacific has assured the Moro Islamic Liberation Front of the finance agency’s full support despite the delay in the Mindanao peace process.

Axel Van Trotsenburg, WB Vice-President for East Asia and the Pacific told MILF chair Murad Ebrahim during a meeting at Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, on Monday, the WB would finance critical projects in infrastructure, community-driven development projects, and social services to support job creation as part of its commitment to the peace process.

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“The Bank continues to believe in the peace process for a region that was seriously affected by conflict,” Van Trotsenburg said.

He expressed the WB’s hope for working with the government, the MILF and other stakeholders “in transforming the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao into a region of prosperity and successful poverty reduction.”

Trotsenburg said the WB could contribute in terms of improvement in maternal health, education, and infrastructure.

These efforts, he said, would generate employment and provide opportunities to escape poverty.

Trotsenburg said quick-impact programs would help address the immediate needs of ARMM communities.

“Building peace takes time, especially where poverty and conflict have become prevalent. We hope all parties stay the course in Mindanao, because there is no alternative to peace,” he added.

The WB official’s visit marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Mindanao Trust Fund, which has supported economic and social recovery, as well as effective governance, in southern Philippines.

More than half a million people in 214 war-torn communities from 75 municipalities have benefited from the trust fund, which has helped finance the construction of new roads, classrooms, health clinics and community centers and improved access to electricity and water supply.

Trotsenburg said the WB has also been conducting a study on how to further boost employment opportunities in the southern Philippines, particularly in conflict-affected areas.

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The study, called the Mindanao Jobs Report, will summarize existing analytical work and undertake research on job creation in the area. The report will be released in July 2016.

Murad thanked the WB for its assistance and in backing the peace process.

“The World Bank and MILF can cooperate in aspects of normalization that are not directly linked to the achievement of political milestones,” he said.

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TAGS: Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Axel Van Trotsenburg, Camp Darapanan, economic development, Global Nation, Maguindano, Mindanao Jobs Report, Mindanao Trust Fund, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Murad Ebrahim, peace process, Philippine Government, rural development, Sultan Kudarat, WB East Asia and the Pacific, World Bank
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