EU steps up development projects in Mindanao
THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU) is investing 300 million euros in the next three years in its push for sustainable energy and job creation, allocating a “huge chunk” of it in Mindanao as the bloc realigns itself with the priorities of the Duterte administration, its envoy in the Philippines said.
EU Ambassador Franz Jessen told reporters Tuesday that the EU had been sending technical missions to local communities in Mindanao since early this year to see how the bloc could help in the micro level.
“We have a budget of roughly 300 million euros. That’s what we’ll be spending in the next three years,” he said.
He said EU was shifting its focus to Mindanao because the Duterte administration wanted to drive growth outside of Imperial Manila. He noted that Southern Philippines had a “relatively low level of development compared to the rest of the country.”
The EU is yet to fine tune the actual projects that would be funded, but Jessen said they were limiting it to ensure that the impact would be “more substantial.”
When asked how much is allocated for Mindanao, he said it would be 50 million euros for this year.
The EU is one of the country’s largest trade partners and investors. The bloc has recently earned the ire of President Duterte on the topics of drug war and human rights. While the issue of human rights may be divisive, they both agree on the importance of regional development.