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World Bank Group enhances support for Mindanao
The World Bank Group on Friday said it will scale up support for peace-building and development in Mindanao as part of the midterm adjustment of its country partnership strategy with the Philippines.
In a statement, it said the scaled-up program for the entire Mindanao will focus on supporting the government's program to raise agricultural productivity and improve connectivity from farm to market; boost education, skills, and employability of the youth; and help build resilient communities.
"Mindanao accounts for 36 percent of all poverty in the Philippines and poverty is highest in areas affected by conflict. The World Bank Group fully supports the government's focus on developing lagging regions, including in Marawi and surrounding areas," said Mara Warwick, World Bank country director for Philippines.
"Also, the World Bank will provide technical assistance for the early recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction planning for Marawi City as requested by government," she added.
This follows the completion of the Performance and Learning Review report endorsed by the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors.
According to the report, the Washington-based multilateral lender said its support to the conflict-affected region has been significant in recent years, leading to over 682,000 people benefiting from better infrastructure and access to jobs and initiatives that improve literacy.
In the past two years, it said support has contributed to the government's efforts to reduce poverty in the Philippines which include nearly 10,000 new water connections; about 300 kilometers of roads and nearly 2,000 meters of bridges, improving connectivity; more than 20,000 education officials have received training and were equipped to train others in early grade reading and mathematics; and about two million people - half of whom are women - benefited from improved public services with over 702,000 enjoying cleaner, safer public markets and public terminals.
In 2018, the World Bank Group said its support for the Philippines could reach $660 million which includes funding for the Metro Manila Flood Management Project-the first project in the Philippines for co-financing with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
In 2019, total funding could reach $750 million, including projects for agriculture and education in Mindanao.
The Group will also continue to provide analytical and advisory services to address important development issues under its fiscal year 2018-2019 program.
Its partnership strategy for the Philippines, meanwhile, will be to continue work on five engagement areas aligned with the development priorities of the government on transparency and accountability; empowerment of the poor and vulnerable; rapid, inclusive and sustained economic growth; resilience to climate change, environment, and disaster risk management; and peace, institution building, and social and economic opportunity, with focus on conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.
"The strategy is built on our long-term partnership with the Philippine government, development partners, and other sectors of Philippine society," said Victoria Kwakwa, World Bank vice president for East Asia and the Pacific.
[Source: By Mayvelin U. Caraballo, The Manila Times, Manila, 01Sep17]
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