Pogi points! EU plans to pour in P3B P6B to Mindanao, specifically to rebuild Marawi

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European Union (EU) Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen said Thursday the bloc was eyeing a 55 million-euro (about PHP3 billion) grant to support Mindanao, particularly the rehabilitation of Marawi City.

At the sidelines of the Energy Smart Philippines 2017, Jessen told reporters that the EU was internally discussing the amount for Mindanao, which could be increased to 100 million euros (about P6 billion).

“Job creation would be a major focus. The energy will also be a major focus,” the envoy said.

Noting that the EU has been quick to respond in rolling out its assistance following the crisis in Marawi City, he said they had spent more than a million euros to provide potable water to those affected by the war in Marawi.

Jessen said the grant would also support upholding peace and stability in Mindanao which was crucial to attracting more EU investors to the Philippines.

“European Union investors don’t look (at) the country being divided in different regions. But they look at it as one country and it is important that we have peace and stability,” the EU envoy stressed.

On Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano clarified that the government is open to grants from countries that would not attach any conditionality that would affect Philippine sovereignty.

Jessen said the EU’s grants to the Philippines in the past had not affected the country’s independent foreign policy.

He also mentioned that he met Cayetano and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III last Tuesday.

“I think Secretary Cayetano and Secretary Dominguez, at the end of the day, they are practical people. And they look at the principles, and look at what actually is happening, what is our development assistance all about,” Jessen said. (PNA)