Australia vows support to communities affected by Marawi conflict

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gives a warm welcome to Commonwealth of Australia Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop who paid a courtesy call on the President at the Malacañan Palace on August 7, 2017. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

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Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced on Tuesday that they will lend their helping hands to assist the civilians affected in Marawi by providing $20 million as support for the recovery of the southern Philippines.

“The Australian Government is providing $20 million over four years to support recovery and long term peace and stability in the southern Philippines. This is in addition to the emergency food and other supplies valued at $920,000 that I announced on 20 June 2017,” AU FM Bishop said on a press release.

According to FM Bishop, she met with President Duterte on Monday, August 7, in Manila and they discussed the conflict in Marawi and its impact to civilians in the region.

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“The siege has brought enormous distress to the population of Marawi with around 360,000 people forced to flee their homes. Australia’s support will help meet the urgent needs of these displaced people including through child protection and counselling services,” she stated.

Bishop also said that the Australian assistance will fund small-scale infrastructure projects for communities around Marawi including provision of clean drinking water and repair of local roads.

The Australian foreign minister, moreover, said that their government will assist community peace-building efforts and strengthen local capacity to resist and counter extremism.

“Australia remains committed to supporting the peace process and development in Muslim Mindanao, which are critical for a strong, stable Philippines, and our assistance will complement the existing programs and priorities of the Philippine Government,” Bishop stated.

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“The Australian Government continues to work with the Philippine Government to combat terrorism in the region,” she added. | Tretch Melarpes – PTV

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