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Promote peace and development in Mindanao
« on: August 13, 2014, 07:01:56 PM »
A top Malacañang official has lauded the programs of the European Union (EU) to promote peace and development in the Mindanao region, especially in the areas of poverty alleviation, promotion of human rights, and good governance.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said on Wednesday the EU has been an active partner in the peace process in Mindanao and has provided grants to civil society organizations that spearhead programs in peacekeeping and monitoring, confidence- and peace-building actions, as well as facilitate workshops and dialogues among stakeholders in the region.

“The EU is a member of the International Monitoring Team and has been a major development partner in Mindanao,” Coloma said. “We thank the EU for its decision to double its bilateral assistance to the Philippines of up to P19 billion for the next five years.”

Coloma’s statement comes on the heels of the visit of Lady Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Vice President of the European Commission, who visited the Philippines last month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the EU and the Philippines.

According to data from the Department of Trade and Industry, the EU is the largest investor in the Philippines by stock, with total investments amounting to an estimated P440 billion, which have created an estimated 400,000 jobs in the country.

Data from the Board of Investments show net Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flow from the EU amounted to about P645 billion last year, up from P551 billion in 2012. The EU bloc is the country’s third largest trading partner.

Coloma expressed appreciation to the EU for the bullishness in the country with increased investments in recognition of the significant reforms implemented by the Aquino administration to strengthen transparency and good governance. Early this year, the EU lifted its sanctions on Philippine carriers.

He also commended the EU’s call for a peaceful resolution of disputes in the South China Sea in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

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