Spain vows continued support for peace programs in Bangsamoro region 

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SPAIN has vowed to provide continuing support to peace programs in the Bangsamoro, an autonomous region in southern Philippines that is transitioning from a history of conflicts, according to Philippine press secretary’s office.   

“But it’s true that you know, Philippines is the only Asian country in… from our side, listed as a priority country in the masterplan for Spanish cooperation,” Spanish President Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón said during a bilateral meeting with President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-European Union Commemorative Summit in Brussels, Belgium.  

“The Spanish cooperation in Muslim Mindanao… especially this region, (the) Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, (is) where we try to provide institutional support and strengthen the dialogue,” he said.  

The Spanish Agency for International Cooperation is among the funding agencies for the P1.5-Billion Support to Bangsamoro Transition (SUBATRA) Programme, which is intended to strengthen the region’s democratic governance capacities during the transition period.  

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was set up in 2019 following a peace agreement between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.  

Mr. Marcos, for his part, recalled his time at the Senate, where he said he was among the legislators who worked to create an autonomous political entity to end the conflict.  

“I was a senator, and we were forming the new autonomous region, and of the places I went to seek advice was your experience in Catalonia, and… we learned very much,” he said.   

The leaders also agreed to strengthen other aspects of the Philippines-Spain bilateral relations. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan