12-M euro Mindanao dev’t fund went to health program
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/18 November) – Some 12 million euros intended for
development work in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao went instead to the
government’s health reform program this year amid the impasse in peace
negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The fund, committed in earlier this year by the European Commission to the
Mindanao Trust Fund, was supposed to be used to stabilize communities in
conflict-affected areas and resettle displaced persons to help Mindanao once
a final peace agreement is signed.
Ambassador Jan de Kok, head of Delegation of the European Commission to the
Philippines, said the fund has been diverted to boost the government’s
health reform project under the Department of Health as its Mindanao Health
Sector Policy Support.
Thelma Gecolea, an EC public affairs officer, told MindaNews the fund is
still with the European Union with the details still being decided upon.
De Kok said the signing of the peace agreement was a condition for the
release of the fund. The peace efforts got about a third of the EU’s 90
million euros aid to Mindanao over a number of years, he said.
But he said the European Union has since pledged another 12 million euros to
the MTF “following further progress with the peace negotiation”.
“It will be included in next year’s budget,” he added. (To be updated)