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PIA Press Release

USAID, MEDCo sign US$190M peace and development grant for Mindanao

MANILA (20 September) -- The Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signed here yesterday (19 Sept) a US$ 190 million grant aid that will accelerate and sustain peace and development initiatives in Mindanao over the next five years.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, together with US Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Augusto Santos, OIC-Director General of the National Economic Development Authority, witnessed the signing of the Mindanao Peace and Development (MPAD) assistance agreement between Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana, Chair of MEDCo and John Lindborg, USAID-Philippine Mission Director in a ceremony held yesterday in Malacanang.

The MPAD is a 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.

Under MPAD are ongoing development programs and projects of the USAID which shall further sustain peace and development work for Mindanao through infrastructure, agriculture and workforce development and private sector competitiveness.

Over a five-year period, activities to be carried out under the agreement will build upon and evolve from the positive impacts achieved through joint GRP and USAID efforts mounted over the past several years.

Some activities carried out in pursuit of peace and development in Mindanao over the past several years will continue to be carried out during this period.

MEDCo, as the Philippine government's principal representative in the implementation of the MPAD, shall be working with national and regional government agencies, the Autonomous Region on Muslim Mindanao, local government units and the private sector until the completion of the project starting next year until 2012.

With the continuation and expansion of the USAID assistance, MPAD is projected to sustain the gains of peace and development that has 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.

He added that the MPAD signing, which is held in time of the National Peace Consciousness Month, augurs well for Mindanao's priority thrusts, particularly in pursuing the peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. (OPS/PIA) [top]

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