The Bangsamoro Government, European Union in the Philippines and UNICEF today launched “Building Community Resilience and Delivery of Essential Services for Post Conflict Recovery in Lanao del Sur/Marawi” to strengthen community resilience, increase coverage of essential services, and promote child-friendly family and community behaviours in 44 municipalities in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon.
The action’s over 4 million Euros or 245 million pesos budget will fund health, education, child protection and disaster risk reduction programmes targeting 680,000 children, 200,000 parents and 120,000 internally displaced persons affected by the Marawi conflict. Project outcomes include maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health, nutrition, water, and sanitation services; early childhood education and basic education services; child protection/social welfare systems; and child-friendly provincial and municipal planning and investment for children’s rights and reduced disaster risks.
“Our journey to development and peace lives on in every Bangsamoro youth who carries our dreams into the future. The unrelenting support of our partners enables us to shape a Bangsamoro that nurtures the health and well-being of each and every child,” Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim explained.
“Sustainable development, peace and security will not be achieved until every child has their rights fulfilled, respected and protected. Children have a right to just be children and play, learn and spend time with family and friends. Safeguarding the next generation from the effects of armed conflict is our collective responsibility,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov added.
“This project we are launching today supports the BARMM’s regional and local authorities’ capacity to plan and deliver services, from health and sanitation, to education and social protection. It will contribute to the fulfilment of basic human rights of the populations benefitting from this project, foremost the children. The EU is very proud to have the opportunity to help fund this effort and partner up with the Bangsamoro authorities and with UNICEF, as part of our longstanding commitment to the wellbeing of children, and of course, to peace and development in the BARMM”, stated EU Ambassador Luc Véron.
The three-year “Building Community Resilience and Delivery of Essential Services for Post Conflict Recovery in Lanao del Sur/Marawi” project will involve collaboration among key agencies of the Bangsamoro Government including the Ministry of Health (MOH), Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD), Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE), Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG), provincial governors, and development and humanitarian partners. Special focus will be given to vulnerable populations including pregnant and lactating women, children with disabilities, indigenous children, out-of-school youth, adolescents at risk of being recruited into armed groups, internally displaced persons, and girls.
Lanao del Sur remains one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines, with the highest number of internally displaced persons due to human-induced and natural causes. Over 80 per cent of children live in poverty and their rights to health, education, and protection are not cared for. Conflict, internal displacement, limited development opportunities and the COVID-19 pandemic all have contributed to this situation. A whole generation of children in the BARMM may see their capacity to thrive as adults hampered, impacting the region’s sustainable development and long-lasting peace.