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Mindanao: Peace effort in Philippines’ island

UN food agency supports peace effort in Philippines’ island of Mindanao

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is seeking donor funding for a $27-million programme to feed more than 2 million deprived people on the Philippines’ island of Mindanao in support of the Government’s effort to end the long-standing conflict there with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“The World Food Programme looks forward to assisting the Government of the Philippines and the people of Mindanao in bringing food security, improved health and nutrition and other tangible benefits of peace to the communities hit by conflict,” WFP Regional Director for Asia Anthony Banbury said in a statement today.

The one-year operation, carried out in cooperation with the Government of the Philippines in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and adjacent provinces, will provide food aid, especially to families displaced by the violence, former combatants, poor women and children in a region where poverty, nutrition and education levels are far worse than anywhere else in the country.

More than half of the islanders live on less than $0.60 per day, 30 per cent of children under five are stunted, a sign of chronic malnutrition, and just one third of children finish primary school.

Last month the Japanese government announced the first major contribution of $1.2 million for the programme. “We are grateful for the support received for this critical operation from the Government of Japan, and we seek the support of other donors,” Mr. Banbury said.

WFP has also received valuable assistance from Citigroup, a global financial services provider that has worked with WFP on past emergency operations. “Citigroup’s close management support has allowed our staff to focus immediately on the needs of the people of Mindanao,” said Coco Ushiyama, WFP’s Officer-in-Charge for the Mindanao operation.

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