U.S. Signs $190 Million Mindanao Peace Aid

September 20, 2007 at 10:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / 20 Sept) – The United States and the Philippines signed a $190 million grant aid to help sustain peace and development efforts in the restive region of Mindanao, where security forces are battling Muslim and communist insurgencies for decades now.

Called the Mindanao Peace and Development (MPAD) assistance, the aid is a five-year joint effort of the Philippine government and the United States which aims to develop the needed infrastructure, improve governance and social services as well as expand the economic opportunity in vulnerable and conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

President Gloria Arroyo, together with US Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Augusto Santos, OIC-Director General of the National Economic Development Authority, witnessed the signing of the agreement Wednesday between Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana, chairman of Mindanao Economic Development Council and Jon Lindborg, USAID-Philippines Mission Director.

With the continuation and expansion of the USAID assistance, MPAD is projected to sustain the gains of peace and development that have been achieved so far in Mindanao and widen the scope of social and economic infrastructures and services to a larger Mindanao populace.

“MPAD will enable us to achieve growth with equity and parity as well as accelerate the social and economic inclusion of Mindanao into the BROAD spectrum of national affairs,” Leyretana said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner on Thursday.

Security forces are battling insurgencies in Mindanao the past four decades and fighting have significantly stalled development of the region, now slowly becoming a breeding ground for terrorists where Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya are threatening Manila’s peace efforts.

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