MTF extension approved  

THE MINDANAO Trust Fund (MTF), a multi-donor facility, will be extended until 2019 to sustain the projects in conflict-affected communities before the proposed transition to bigger fund facility for the Bangsamoro.

“The MTF will continue up to 2019. There is still new support coming to ensure that the projects would be sustained,” said Peace Secretary Jesus G. Dureza yesterday at SMX Davao Convention Center.

This, he said, has to continue pending the creation of the new fund, which would be a bigger fund facility, for Bangsamoro.

The MTF, which started in 2005 and was supposed to have its formal closing ceremony yesterday, has been drawing about P1.4 billion in funding from the European Union (EU), Sweden, Australia, Canada, United States, New Zealand and the World Bank (WB).

A press statement on the closing of the MTF cited  the EU is the largest contributor that poured P1.17 billion.

With the move to have its extension, Mara Warwick, country director of WB Philippines, said they are presently talking with other foreign donors as to how much would be the additional support for the trust fund to ensure smooth transition to a bigger fund facility.

“It is our commitment while the government is putting in place for the bigger facility,” Warwick said.

Dr. Saffrurallah M. Dipatuan, chair of the Board of Directors of Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), said the MTF would eventually transition to the Bangsamoro Normalization Fund, a bigger fund facility.

As putting up a new fund would take a long period of time, he said it is good that the government and donors decided to extend the MTF.

“The projects (funded under MTF) are like fruits that are not yet ripe to be abandoned,” Dipatuan said.

One of the projects, he said, was the Programme for Local Economic Development through Enlightened Governance and Grassroots Development (PLEDGE), which extended help to 42 people’s organizations beginning 2012.

In a briefer on MTF, PLEDGE “supported the BDA as it started its first enterprise program. About 1,178 members  of 42 business groups in 11 conflict-affected communities were trained to start and maintain businesses. Beneficiaries were also provided tools and equipment and were linked with other business groups and government agencies.”

Dipatuan said half of the business groups that are assisted by BDA still needed support so these could finally work on their own in their operations. He said these also needed to be assisted to help in accessing the markets and promotion of their products.

Under the MTF, each business group can gain a maximum of P500,000 as start-up fund so they could begin in their enterprises and  help realize their business plans. This is also to help generate employment and provide livelihood to the communities.

Their businesses involved into post-harvest, livestock, furniture, water and food products.

The BDA, Dipatuan said, will continue to supervise the business groups and help them in their operations. (By Kristianne M. Fusilero)

Posted in Business