AUSTRALIA PROVIDES PHP 12 MILLION IN HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO MINDANAO
The Australian Government, through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), will provide over Php 12 million (approx A$320,000) humanitarian assistance to those affected by the conflict in Mindanao, particularly in the provinces of North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte.
Australian Ambassador Rod Smith said “the contribution addresses the needs of people uprooted from their homes and separated from their means of livelihood because of the conflict. Assistance will include essential items like water and sanitation facilities, food, and counselling services in evacuation centres.”
“Australia hopes that people displaced by the conflict are able to return home as soon as possible, and the efforts of the government, donors and NGOs can resume the focus on peacebuilding and development,” Mr Smith said.
Australia is working with the UN, the National Disaster Coordinating Council, as well as other donors and international and local organisations, to coordinate efforts on humanitarian response.
The funds will be made available through the Government of the Philippines-United Nations Multi-donor Program (GoP-UNMDP) Action for Conflict Transformation (ACT) for Peace. Australia, through AusAID, has been the largest donor to the GoP-UNMDP since 1997 with contribution of about Php 1.3 billion (A$34.4 million) until 2010.
The ACT for Peace Program, the fourth phase of the GoP-UNMDP, aims to strengthen and sustain peacebuilding efforts in southern Philippines following the 1996 peace agreement between the GoP and the Moro National Liberation Front. It is being implemented by the Mindanao Economic Development Council and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Regional Government.
ACT for Peace supports peace and development advocates, most of whom are former rebel combatants, in doing voluntary work in community organizing, resource mobilization and bridging peace and development communities with concerned government and other donor agencies.
Australia is a long standing development partner of the Philippines and the second largest bilateral grant aid donor. In 2008-09 the Australian Government will provide an estimated Php4.4 billion (A$109.3 million) in development assistance, focusing on the key pillars of economic growth, basic education, and national stability and human security.