MILF interfaces with donors over transition matters

Davao City --- MILF Chairman Alhaj Murad Ebrahim met on Wednesday (October 11) with envoys and officers of international aid organizations to set its priorities and the foreseen challenges of transition in the Bangsamoro.

Held at the Park Inn Hotel, the one-day “conversation” between the MILF and its development partners outlined the revolutionary movement’s plans in anticipation of the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) after the plebiscite on January 21 next year.

In his message, Chairman Ebrahim presented the nine priorities of the BTA, among which are special programs for combatants and their families and immediate socio-economic programs that will address pressings concerns on illiteracy, poverty, and health.

“I shall be as candid as possible in outlining where exactly we are at in our implementation of the CAB, dissect the challenges we confront, present our priorities in the Bangsamoro, and invite your attention into areas where we can interface as we bring together our resources to address many of the challenges we will confront in the transition to the Bangsamoro,” Ebrahim told the donor community.

Ebrahim stressed that the biggest challenge they will face is the “need to ensure a responsive and timely program for around 30,000 to 40,000 of our combatants who will undergo the decommissioning process.”

“The first recipient of the true dividends of peace must be these individuals and their communities,” he said.

Mr. Ola Almgren, United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, explained that the holding of the donors’ forum traced its origin with his previous talk with Ebrahim on a possible engagement of the MILF with development partners.

“This is an opportunity for partners to have coherence, common strand to ensure the assistance we can offer really has the greatest effect possible towards the objectives being set by the MILF,” he said.

“The idea is to start engagement with a small group which had really accompanied in the peace process, engaged and invested on it, and who can have open dialogue with the MILF,” Almgren added.

Present in the meeting were the Turkish, Swiss, Australian and European Union ambassadors to the Philippines, deputy ambassador of the Netherlands, consuls from Malaysian, Brunei and Japan, and officials of Japan International Cooperation Agency, Spanish Development Cooperation, Canadian Development Corporation, World Bank, Delegation of the European Union, Australian AID and others.

OPAPP Secretary Jesus Dureza as well as his undersecretaries and assistant secretaries were also around.

Majority of the members of the MILF Central Committee also attended the initial interfacing with the donor community. ###