Mindanao peace fund gets P40M boost from Canada

This brings the Canadian contribution to the MTF at P70 million. The fund is being made available for development work while the peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is still on-going, according to a press statement from the Canadian Embassy.

Last year, Canada poured in P30 million to the fund.

Romeo Montenegro, information chief of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo), told MindaNews 60 percent of Canada's program targets in the country this year are in Mindanao.

The MTF was established in 2005 by the World Bank amid calls from the Philippine government for aid to Mindanao in case the agreement is signed.

The European Union announced in November it will release 1 million euros for its initial contribution to the MTF this year even before the peace pact is signed.

Apart from the EU's contribution, around US$2.74 million has been earmarked for the initial phase with US$369,850 from Australia, US$ 643,005 from Canada, US$199,978 from New Zealand and US$1.5 million from the World Bank.

Peace Process Presidential Adviser Jesus Dureza said last year they will make initial preparations by providing capacity building to the Bangsamoro Development Agency, the office eyed to lead the implementation of the MTF projects.

A full program will be implemented in the final phase once the peace agreement is signed. Grants will be released to finance projects like technical assistance, expansion of capacity-building, and a gradual transfer of management to a governing entity.

Talks between the government and the MILF have been stalled since September.

Dureza and Canadian Ambassador Peter Sutherland will officiate the signing of the administrative agreement of the trust fund on April 26 at The Marco Polo.