Mindanao trust fund to last until 2019

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus G. Dureza has announced the extension of the Mindanao Trust Fund for Reconstruction and Development Program (MTF-RDP) up to 2019.

During the MTF-RDP closing Cremony at SMX Convention Center, Davao City, Dureza described the two-year extension as a “transition for a bigger fund facility” that the MTF steering committee headed by Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process was working on.

Dureza said there will be new support coming from the existing donors to continuously fund the programs that have been started since its pilot implementation on 2006.

“This facility will not be only limited to the people of the Bangsamoro, but inclusivity on bigger communities who are looking at us for assistance,” said Dureza.

Meanwhile, Bangsamoro Development Authority Chair of the Board Dr. Saffrulah M. Dipatuan expressed satisfaction that the Philippine government and the MILF were committed to the continuation of the Mindanao Trust Fund which will serve as the transition to the bigger Bangsamoro normalization fund.

“Initially they were contemplating on a one-year extension but we are even happy to hear from Secretary Jess Dureza that it’s not only one year,” he said. “It’s going to be two-year extension because after all, trying to establish a fund, new funds, will really take time. It will not be an overnight endeavor.”

World Bank Country Director Mara Warwick said during a press briefing that the allocation for the extension of MTF-RDP “is yet to be finalized” but she expects the amount will surely support the activities of the involved communities.

With regard to the projects to be supported, Dureza said an assessment will be conducted among the communities to determine how much is still needed to be funded. Dipatuan added that the MTF can refer to the Bangsamoro Development Plan crafted in 2013, a comprehensive and inclusive socioeconomic blueprint for the proposed Bangsamoro territories.

The BDA chair said the some of the fund will continue to support projects which have already been started by the beneficiaries, and at the same time, fund the incoming projects which will be proposed by the communities.

“There are many projects that we have already started but like a fruit, those projects are not yet ripe to be abandoned so we want to continue, revisit those projects,” he said.

The Mindanao Trust Fund-Reconstruction and Development Program Closing Ceremony gathered government officials, representatives of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) negotiating panel, officials of Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), partner agencies and organizations such as World Bank, European Union, Canadian embassy, Australian Embassy, and about 40 best performing People’s Organizations across seven regions in Mindanao, including beneficiaries in the six acknowledged MILF camps.

Inaugurated in 2006, the MTF is the longest running trust fund programming for development in Mindanao. It partnerswith the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), the development arm of the MILF, with technical support from Community and Family Services International (CFSI) and Mindanao Land Foundation, Incorporated (MinLand).

By March 2017, the MTF has completed 573 community-driven projects which will benefit over 650,000 people in 315 conflict-affected communities. Since 2006, the European Union, Sweden, Australia, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and the World Bank have provided PhP 1.4 billion (USD 28.9 million) to support socioeconomic recovery in Mindanao. The European Union is the largest contributor, having provided Php 1.17 billion (USD 22 million) to the facility. (Jermaine L. dela Cruz)

Date Published: 
Wednesday, April 19, 2017