MAKATI CITY, 03 May 2018 – The Australian government today affirmed its commitment to assisting the Philippines in its peace and development initiatives, saying it shares the Filipinos’ desire to end conflict and achieve just and lasting peace.

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Senator for New South Wales and Minister for International Development and the Pacific, gave the statement during a breakfast forum spearheaded by the Australian Embassy and the Albert Del Rosario Research Institute earlier today in this city.

Noting Australia’s more than 20 years of partnership with the Philippines in peacebuilding and development, Fierravanti-Wells said her country is “committed to support peace and development in Mindanao.”

“We recognize the ongoing challenges in the peace process, and we share with the Filipinos your basic desire to end this conflict and have just and lasting peace,” she said.

Fierravanti-Wells highlighted the importance of the participation of women in the peace process and their role in curbing the rise of violent extremism. She also recognized the role of youth, indigenous peoples, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the peace process.

In his remarks, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza expressed the Philippines’ gratitude to Australia in supporting the country in development and peacebuilding.

“We have seen your work not only in trying to address the present challenges in the peace process, but I also think that your assistance in the Philippines, especially in Mindanao through capacity building, is just as important,” Dureza said.

He said the peace process must go hand-in-hand with development in order to improve the lives of the Filipinos.

Australia currently supports multilateral and bilateral programs in Mindanao such as the Mindanao Trust Fund, PRIME Bangsamoro, and the Facility for Advisory Support for Transition Capacities.