U.S. to continue aid for Marawi

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Acting USAID Mission Director Patrick Wesner and Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chair Datu Abul Khayr Dangcal Alonto lead the signing of the agreement. (Photo courtesy: David Santon/CNN Philippines)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 13) — Amid threats of steep budget cuts on its foreign aid, the U.S. government will continue to fund development projects in Mindanao, particularly for the rehabilitation of war-ravaged Marawi.

On Tuesday, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) signed an agreement worth more than $11 million extending U.S. assistance to Mindanao for another year.

The Mindanao Peace and Development (MPAD) aid agreement will focus on infrastructure, conflict resolution, better governance, livelihood and social services.

MPAD has provided almost $145 million in contributions to the country for 11 years.

Previous projects were concentrated in conflict-torn communities of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi while the current agreement will fund programs helping the massive reconstruction efforts in Marawi.

MinDA Undersecretary Janet Lopez said they are hoping more support not just for Marawi, but for other areas and projects as well.

"We are also hoping that there could be more support measures, that can be explored after the Marawi response program, but as of now, we're looking at that as a comprehensive package of support for Marawi. So it covers livelihood, education, health," she said.

In May, the U.S. said it would give an additional P182 million for relief, recovery and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi, bringing the total contributions to over a billion pesos.

CNN Philippines senior correspondent David Santos contributed to this report.