Sunday, April 09, 2006

$27M In UN Aid For Terrorists

Moro rebels welcome $27m food aid from UN

By Rizal Raoul Reyes, Correspondent

Manila: The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commended the United Nations for its plan to extend $27 million (Dh99 million) food aid for two million of Mindanao's poor and victims of conflicts.

"We welcome this development and the UN food aid will surely help a lot of poor people in conflict-torn areas in Mindanao. It will provide the much-needed humanitarian assistance to many poor Muslim communities and we are willing to take part and help the UN and the government undertake this noble cause," said Mohagher Iqbal, MILF information committee chairman and chief negotiator in the peace talks with the government.

"We have gone a long way and the peace process is now bearing fruits and we are optimistic to sign a peace deal with the government that will bring long and lasting peace to everyone in Mindanao," Iqbal added.

The MILF urged the UN and other donor agencies to coordinate with the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) to ensure the proper allocation and management of the grants. BDA is the coordinating agency of the MILF. The BDA was formed by the MILF and the Arroyo administration in 2002 to head all rehabilitation and development programmes in Mindanao.

Iqbal told reporters that he learned the news through the agency's press release.

Anthony Banbury, the UN World Food Programme's regional director for Asia, was quoted as saying he was looking forward to helping the Philippine government and the people of Mindanao.

But the UNWFP explained that the actual amount to be granted will depend on the response of donors.