MANILA, Philippines—Vice President Jejomar Binay on Friday said he was optimistic the framework agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will spur more European investments, and encourage Europe to continue its Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the country.
The Vice President will leave on Sunday for Brussels, Belgium, on the first leg of his trip to Europe as official representative of President Aquino to the European Development Days (EDD) gatherings and to the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod on Oct. 21 at the Vatican City in Rome.
“The agreement is a step towards achieving lasting peace in Mindanao. I am confident it will entice European investors to put up their businesses here, especially in Mindanao,” Binay said in a statement.
“I also hope the agreement will serve as proof that we are serious in our efforts towards creating a peaceful and progressive Mindanao and this, in turn, will encourage the European community to continue to provide ODA to the Philippines,” he added.
Ambassador Guy Ledoux of the European Union (EU) delegation to the Philippines, in a statement, called Binay’s visit “clearly a sign of higher interest by both sides to enhance bilateral relations.”
Largest investor in PH
“The EU, after all is the largest investor in the Philippines and its fourth largest trading partner. The good performance of the Philippines economy certainly plays a role in this renewed interest of Europe in the Philippines,” he said.
Ledoux said Binay’s visit also provides “an excellent opportunity” for the Philippines to explain the Mindanao Peace Process.
The EU and a number of its Member States have congratulated the Philippines Government for the successful conclusion of the negotiations on the framework peace agreement with the MILF.
The delegation on Thursday launched a call for proposals for civil society organizations from the Philippines and the EU for projects involving human rights in the Philippines. Groups may avail grants worth 200,000-500,000 Euros (P10 million to P26 million) per project, which should last two to three years.
Actions should focus on supporting human rights defenders and protecting and promoting the rights of children. The EU has allocated a total of P95 million through its European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)-Country-Based Support Scheme, a thematic grant facility established by the EU in 2006 to provide support for the promotion of democracy and human rights in non-EU countries.
3 financing agreements
Three financing agreements are currently in the pipeline, namely: the Justice for All Project, the Trade related technical Assistance Project II and the Improvement of the International Migration Management System of the Philippines.
“I look forward to the finalization of the next financial cycle 2014–2020 for European Union’s development assistance to the Philippines,” he added.
Brussels in the headquarters of the 27-member European Union.
Binay will then proceed to Rome to head the Philippine delegation that will witness the canonization of Blessed Pedro Calungsod on Oct. 21.