World Bank, BDA and Partners Sign New Agreement to Promote Peace and Development in Mindanao

World Bank | Davao City, June 8, 2012 — The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) and two civil society organizations signed today a new, three-year, $3 million partnership under the World Bank-led Mindanao Trust Fund-Reconstruction and Development Program (MTF-RDP) to increase access to basic services in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao. The agreement extends development assistance to over 20,000 households in twenty-one municipalities across nine provinces in Mindanao.

Started in 2006, the MTF-RDP is a $16 million multi-donor facility that supports economic and social recovery and promotes inclusive and effective governance in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao. Administered by the World Bank and co-chaired by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and the BDA, the program serves as a mechanism for international development partners to pool resources and coordinate their support for peace and development in Mindanao.

In addition to supporting social and economic recovery, the program supports the capacity of the agency. BDA is the development arm of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and is mandated, under the 2001 Tripoli Agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the MILF, to determine, lead and manage relief, rehabilitation and development in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao. 

In 2011, despite the challenges of working in conflict-affected areas, the MTF-RDP delivered services – classrooms, health stations, access roads, water supply systems, and community centers – to over 31,000 households, expanding total coverage from 62 to 162 barangays (villages) in 75 municipalities.

The range of project activities was also augmented through the new community-driven reconstruction (CDR) component to include private goods – core shelters, agricultural inputs and livelihood assistance – to meet the urgent needs of communities most heavily affected by displacement and conflict.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Secretary Teresita Quintos Deles, who witnessed the signing said, “Initiatives like the MTF-RDP ensure that communities can enjoy the dividends of development and peace. The gains from the Program show that partnerships among different stakeholders can bring about much good for the communities, whether this partnership happens on the ground, or on the negotiating table.” 

She said that the program has expanded its coverage, allowing more communities to learn about participatory approaches in addressing their development concerns.  She also noted the importance of capacity-building for the Bangsamoro Development Agency. “A strengthened BDA is an important building block for a just and lasting peace in Mindanao,” Secretary Deles added.

Welcoming the signing of the partnership agreement, Dr. Saffrullah M. Dipatuan, Chairman of the BDA, said that “though priority attention is focused on the political settlement of the Mindanao problem, projects and programs that will alleviate the suffering of the people in the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao should be implemented while both parties are earnestly engaged in peace negotiation."

For his part, World Bank Country Director for the Philippines Motoo Konishi said he is pleased with the new partnership agreement, saying that the deal will boost social services delivery and encourage closer partnership between the government and the MILF. “This new agreement will serve as a confidence-building measure among parties in the conflict.  It will also be a vehicle to build capacity among Bangsamoro groups that is needed now and will be even more important in a post-peace agreement scenario,” said Mr. Konishi. 

Mr. Konishi added: “Global experience suggests that achieving and sustaining peace requires cooperation and collaboration between key stakeholders. No single party can achieve peace on their own.  By bringing the Government and the MILF together, with the support of the international community, the Mindanao Trust Fund is built on the principle of cooperation. We would like to thank all the MTF partners, particularly the European Union as the largest contributor to the Program.” 

European Union (EU) Ambassador to the Philippines Guy Ledoux commented that, “The MTF-RDP is an important mechanism to complement our overall support to peace in Mindanao and has shown significant results directly helping the poor in conflict-affected areas.”

Besides the World Bank and the EU, other development partners supporting the MTF-RDP are the Australian Agency for International Development, the Canadian International Development Agency, the government of New Zealand, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the United States Agency for International Development.

The civil society groups that signed the partnership agreement with BDA are the Community and Family Services International (CFSI), and Mindanao Land Foundation (MinLand).

To ensure smooth operations and fund use, BDA is assisted under the Program by Community and Family Services International, a humanitarian organization which has been involved in reconstruction and development work in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao since 2000, and the Mindanao Land Foundation, a non-government organization which has been working for social cohesion building in conflict-affected communities in Mindanao since 2001.