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PIA Press Release

US backs PGMA dev't initiatives in Mindanao, extends $190-M assistance

Manila (19 September) -- The United States supports President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's initiative to bring lasting peace and development in Mindanao by improving the lives of the Mindanaonons through the provision of key infrastructure facilities and expanding economic opportunities, US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney said today.

Ambassador Kenney made the statement before the signing of the Mindanao Peace and Development (MPAD) Agreement at the Rizal Hall of Malacanang this afternoon.

The President and the US envoy witnessed the signing of the MPAD accord with an initial funding of $190-million in US grant to promote economic development and strengthen the foundation of peace in Mindanao.

"We support the President's plan to bring a lasting and just peace in Mindanao," Kenney said.

Signing the accord were United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Director John Lindborg and Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCO) Chairman Virgilio Leyretana.

The agreement, which covers a five-year period from 2008-2012, seeks to bolster government-private sector efforts to improve the lives of the people in Mindanao.

"Today, we sign a pledge that would bring economic development to Mindanao," Kenney said.

Under the agreement, the activities to be overseen by MEDCO and USAID include development infrastructures, improving governance, expanding economic opportunities, and strengthening the foundations of peace through the holding of trainings and other livelihood assistance programs in the area.

Among those present during the MPAD Agreement were Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Augusto Santos, and US Charge d'Affaires Paul Jones. (PIA) [top]

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