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PIA Press Release

New Zealand reaffirms commitment to peace, dev't of Caraga

Butuan City (5 March) -- New Zealand Ambassador Andrew Matheson together with Renaud Meyer, country director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Sec. Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on Mindanao, will meet with key leaders and visit communities in Agusan del Sur and Butuan City starting today as he reaffirms New Zealand's commitment to work with local stakeholders in advancing peace and development in the region.

The New Zealand Government, through the New Zealand Agency for International Development, is a key donor partner of the GoP-UN Action for Conflict Transformation (ACT) for Peace Programme in assisting the 37 Peace and Development Communities (PDCs) in Caraga region in their transformation process.

Ambassador Matheson, Mr Meyer and Sec. Dureza will turnover various projects on community economic enterprise and improving access to health services in Barangay Marfil in Rosario, Agusan del Sur. They will also visit the Manila de Bugabus Elementary School of Peace in PDC Manila de Bugabus, Butuan City. These efforts were implemented in partnership with the local government units.

Marfil and Manila de Bugabus are among the 278 Peace and Development Communities (PDCs) that are being supported by the ACT for Peace Programme in Southern Philippines, 37 of which are in Caraga region.

A PDC is a conflict-affected or conflict-vulnerable community that is undergoing change processes towards sustainable peace and development through the help of 10 various development partners.

"This visit affords us excellent opportunity to assess the extent of our initiatives and efforts made by our communities in pushing for peace and development in Caraga," said Sec. Jesus Dureza, who also serves as the ACT for Peace national programme director.

Managed by UNDP, the ACT for Peace Programme is implemented by the Mindanao Economic Development Council in partnership with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The Programme is also supported by the governments of Australia, Spain and the European Union.

Among the assistance being provided to PDC Marfil are construction of barangay health station, provision of medical equipment, establishment of botika ng barangay, installation of potable water system and establishment of rice trading.

These projects were priorities set by the community in their Barangay Development Plan that they formulated using peace-sensitive and participatory resource appraisal approaches.

"The activities pursued under the ACT for Peace Programme in this region demonstrate firm commitment of both the Government and donor partners including the government of New Zealand to lay the solid foundation for lasting peace in Mindanao," Dureza said.

The GoP-UN ACT for Peace Programme is implemented by the Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) in partnership with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Regional Government and supported by the Governments of Australia, New Zealand, Spain and the European Union. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) serves as the managing agency for the Programme. (ACT for Peace) [top]

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