IDB to Give $16m for Moro Uplift

Samir Al-Saadi, Arab News
Publication Date: 
Tue, 2007-11-13 03:00

JEDDAH, 13 November 2007 — The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has decided to give $16 million to the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) for poverty alleviation and reconstruction of infrastructure in the southern Mindanao region. According to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), $4.2 million of the allocation is ready for immediate delivery. The announcement was made at the end of a three way meeting between the Philippines government, the MNLF and the OIC.

MNLF legal adviser Randloph Parcasio expressed his concern that the money might “fall into the wrong hands in the Philippine government.” He added that the MNLF did not have the infrastructure needed to handle such a large amount of money and hoped that the money would be used for the impoverished region and its people.

A spokesman for the Philippine government said that his government and the IDB had the experience and ability to use the money for the Moro people.

The OIC called the meeting in order to preserve the gains achieved through the 1996 peace agreement. The meeting was chaired by Rezlan I. Jenie in his capacity as chairman of the OIC Peace Committee for the southern Philippines (PCSP).

The Philippine delegation was led by undersecretary Nabil A. Tan, deputy presidential adviser on the peace process and the MNLF delegation was headed by MNLF legal adviser Randloph Parcasio.

The meeting’s agenda consisted of one main item — to review the implementation of the 1996 final peace agreement between the Philippine government and MNLF and assess the progress made and obstacles to its implementation.

Jenie said in a statement: “After three days of intensive discussions, the meeting agreed to establish five joint working groups on the following topics: Shariah and Judiciary, special regional security force and the unified command for autonomous region and Mindanao, natural resources and economic development issues, political system and representation and education. The working groups shall have the mandate to review implementation of 1996 final peace agreement in their respective assigned topics and provide recommendations to move the implementation of the peace agreement forward. Each working group will be composed of three experts from both the Philippine government and MNLF.

“Representatives from OIC PCSP shall attend the meetings of the working groups as facilitators.

“Its joint meeting group is expected to submit its first progress report to the tripartite meeting through OIC by Jan. 10. The report will be considered at the next tripartite meeting to be held on Jan. 14.”

The OIC secretary-general expressed hope that Nur Misuari, chairman of the MNLF, would be able to join the next session so that all could benefit from his contribution to this important process.

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