Media release: ILO and BDA ink partnership to support peace building in Mindanao

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Cotabato City – The International Labour Organization and the Bangsamoro Development Agency today signed an agreement that will contribute to peace building efforts through local economic development, decent work and sustainable livelihoods in Mindanao.

In 2011, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) had the highest rate of vulnerable employment at 84 per cent of those employed. The magnitude of poor people in the region reached over 1.38 million in 2009, with more than 218,000 families living in poverty.

“This is of great concern, as people are forced to accept whatever work is available in order to survive. They cannot lift themselves and their families out of poverty given their limited income, lack of access to social protection and social security. They are often found in dangerous and poor working conditions,” said Mr Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines.

Mr Johnson acknowledged that development of local economies and sustainable livelihoods takes time and is a serious challenge especially in conflict affected areas as part of the overall convergence strategy for Mindanao.

In executing the agreement, the ILO is furthering its commitment to peace and development in Mindanao through skills and enterprise development and job creation towards sustainable and inclusive growth in the Philippines.

Mr Muhammad Yacob, Executive Director of the BDA and Mr Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines signed the agreement that will lead to the full implementation a region-wide Programme for Local Economic Development through Enhanced Governance and Grassroots Empowerment (PLEDGE) in ARMM. PLEDGE will operate in up to 12 target communities covering three municipalities in the ARMM.

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Under the agreement, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) will partner with the ILO to put in place project management and governance structures and will assign officials to be developed as local experts and trainers. BDA will provide expertise on Halal concepts and guidance in selecting communities and value chains with livelihood and entrepreneurship potential. It will also help ensure sustainability of joint efforts and initiatives.

The ILO will provide managerial, technical and other resources to support activities including relevant tools. The ILO will also help in further building the capacity of BDA officials. The BDA is poised to become a leading social development agency and as such it will learn more on programme design, implementation and assessment through close collaboration with the ILO team.

“BDA has been partnering with key stakeholders and development institutions to fulfill its mission based on its mandate for the Bangsamoro people. The ILO’s support through the PLEDGE is another welcome development and opportunity. BDA is appreciative of this new partnership and is very optimistic that PLEDGE will become a model livelihood programme and will largely contribute to improving the living conditions of the Bangsamoro areas,” said Mr Muhammad Yacoub, Executive Director of the BDA.

PLEDGE is funded through the Mindanao Trust Fund administered by the World Bank. Major contributors to the fund include the World Bank, the Governments of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, USA and the European Union.

Welcoming the launch, World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi said, “Global experience demonstrates the importance of job creation to breaking cycles of violence and promoting inclusive growth. We are very pleased, therefore, to partner with the BDA and the ILO on this important programme. We also thank the Mindanao Trust Fund partners for their ongoing support for peace and development in Mindanao.”

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PLEDGE will work with local government agencies and with the BDA as its key partner. To leverage existing resources, PLEDGE will align its work with the other relevant development programmes being undertaken in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao including the Mindanao Trust Fund, the World Bank and other multilateral and bilateral agencies.

For further information please contact:

Mr Omar Rahaman
Chief Technical Adviser, PLEDGE Project (Cotabato City)
+63 (917) 807 77322
[email protected]

Ms Minette Rimando
ILO Media and Public Information (Manila)
Tel: + 63 2 580 9900 / 580 9905
Mob: 0917 535 3162
[email protected]

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