Two development organizations have signed an amended cooperation agreement which aims to support the normalization process in the Bangsamoro, as part of peace negotiations between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The amended agreement between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) focused on IOM's commitment to support the Bangsamoro people, and reinforced the first cooperation agreement that IOM and BDA signed in 2013.
According to the pact, IOM would provide technical assistance, such as advice on gender and youth aspects of the Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP); deploy IOM technical staff to BDA to conduct community-based assessment on the impact of assistance to conflict-affected areas of Mindanao; and assist in the roll-out of BDA Humanitarian Strategic Plan.
During the signing ceremony recently held at the BDA Conference Center in Cotabato City, Marco Boasso, IOM Manila Global Administrative Center (MAC) director and chief of mission of IOM Philippines, said that IOM's commitment to the Bangsamoro remains steadfast and unwavering, and that the Bangsamoro Peace Process remains one of the top programmatic priorities for IOM.
In response, Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan, BDA chairman, expressed his appreciation for IOM's continuous support to the Bangsamoro people through the BDA.
Dipatuan said the IOM is the first agency to respond to their call for cooperation and support after the meeting between BDA and UN agencies two weeks ago.
"The renewal of the cooperation agreement between IOM and the BDA is a manifestation that the previous agreement has been successful," Dipatuan said.
IOM Philippines recently reached the midway point of the “Children of Peace” project funded by European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) that supports quality education for children across Mindanao, including Moro and Indigenous People of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
The BDA was created as part of the Tripoli Agreement on Peace between the government and the MILF in 2001. It is tasked to lead relief and rehabilitation efforts in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.