EU bolsters support for BARMM peace projects

January 17, 2023

EU, UNDP Philippines, senior BARMM government officials, and key partners broke ground for the construction of the As-Siddique Elementary School Library


COTABATO CITY – H.E. Luc Véron, European Union (EU) Ambassador to the Philippines visited the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to mark the implementation of the Programme on Assistance for Camp Transformation through Inclusion, Violence Prevention and Economic Empowerment (PROACTIVE), a two-year project co-funded by EU and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

PROACTIVE is a USD 4.6 million project that will facilitate the transition and transformation of the 6 previously-acknowledged Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) camps into peaceful and productive communities by enhancing local capacities and developing sustainable livelihoods.

In this mission to BARMM, Ambassador Véron and UNDP Philippines Resident Representative Dr. Selva Ramachandran participated in the ceremonial signing of agreements with implementing partners. They also led the groundbreaking for the building of social infrastructures and handed over farming machinery to the communities being supported by PROACTIVE.

Dr. Selva Ramachandran signed the Letter of Agreement with the BARMM Ministry of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE), represented by Minister Mohagher Iqbal, for the implementation of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Program for 600 decommissioned MILF combatants, which is expected to open more livelihood opportunities in the areas.

From L-R: MP Aida Silongan (BTA Member and Co-Chair TFDCC-MILF), Dr. Selva Ramachandran, H.E. Luc Véron, Haron Meling (MBHTE Deputy Minister), Mohagher Iqbal (MBHTE Minister and Co-chair PIP MILF)

PROACTIVE’s TVET Program will include skills trainings on bread and pastry production, computer systems servicing, electrical installation and maintenance, carpentry, driving, dressmaking, photovoltaic system installation, and small engine servicing. The trainees will also be provided with ‘starter kits’ in the form of tools, equipment, or other materials needed for services or goods delivery.

A separate event saw the ceremonial signing of the Responsible Party Agreement between UNDP Philippines and the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), represented by its Chairman of the Board Mr. Mangontawar M. Macacuna, for the latter’s implementation and monitoring of PROACTIVE projects and activities in the 6 previously-acknowledged camps of the MILF. Ambassador Véron served as a witness to the signing of the two agreements. Present during the signing ceremonies were the co-chairpersons of the Joint Task Force on Camp Transformation (JTFCT) and Task Force on Decommissioned Combatants and their Communities (TFDCC), among others.

From L-R: Sakura Moretto, MP Ali Salik (BTA Member and Co-Chair JTFCT-MILF), Mangontawar Macacuna (BDA Chairman of the Board), H.E. Luc Véron, Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Christopher Wagner

Ambassador Véron and Dr. Ramachandran also visited the Municipality of Barira in Maguindanao del Norte to break ground for the construction of the As-Siddique Elementary School library in Camp Abubakar, along with senior BARMM government officials and key stakeholders and partners. At the ceremony, 2 tractors with disc harrows, disc plows, rakes, and trailer extensions were formally handed over to be used by 12 people’s organizations composed of MILF decommissioned combatants.

Tractors and farm implements were handed over to the people’s organizations in the six previously acknowledged MILF camps as part of the PROACTIVE project.

The activity at Camp Abubakar formally marked the start of the implementation of a total of 36 infrastructure projects in the 6 MILF camps in support of the camp transformation efforts under the normalization process.

PROACTIVE is part of a larger EU assistance package for BARMM on normalization, specifically through its Mindanao Peace and Development Program-Peace and Development in the BARMM (MINPAD-PD BARMM). ###