Australia to pour $130M in ARMM

IN PURSUIT to help in the development of Mindanao, the Australian government will pour Aus$130 million for its two programs specifically on education and support in the peace process in the island.

Of the figures, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said yesterday in a press conference at Marco Polo Davao Hotel that Aus$90 million would be set aside for the program, Education Pathways to Peace in Mindanao (Pathways).

This is a nine-year program to support conflict-sensitive quality basic education especially in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

With the program, Bishop said they hoped to raise the bar of educational standards and ensure that quality education would be provided by assisting the teachers in that region. This complements the Australian government’s efforts to help in education reform, peace and stability in the country.

“We believe that the key to prosperity and peace is in education,” Bishop said.

Apart from the Pathways program, she said they would pour in Aus$40 million to contribute in the peace building effort in conflict-affected areas of the ARMM. She said this includes infrastructure and water supply projects and providing of technical assistance in peace agreements.

The Australian government, she said, has been a development partner of the Philippines.

In a statement of Australian Embassy, the Australia government has supported the “Basic Education Assistance to Mindanao program (BEAM, 2002-2009); the Philippines Response to Indigenous Peoples’ and Muslim Education program (PRIME, 2011-2014); and the Basic Education Assistance to Muslim Mindanao program (BEAM-ARMM 2012-2017).”

“With our support for education and peace process, Australia continues to be a friend, a partner to the Philippines,” Bishop said. (By Kristianne M. Fusilero)

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