Japan assists Baggao community through St. Paul University

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Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa congratulates Sister Merceditas Ong after signing the grant contract for St. Paul University’s project.

Japanese Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa congratulates Sister Merceditas Ong after signing the grant contract for St. Paul University’s project.

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa and the President of St. Paul University Philippines, Sister Merceditas Ang, signed the grant contract for “The Project for Production and Marketing of Clean and Green (non-wood) Charcoal” on March 17 at the Embassy of Japan.

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The total amount is $70,718 (approximately P3.15 million) and is funded through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).

The small farmers in Baggao, Cagayan are among those who are known to have the smallest income in the municipality. To make a living, they resort to other environmentally destructive activities like cutting forest trees to produce charcoal.

In fact, charcoal production is one of the main alternative sources of livelihood of the people in Baggao. However, the rampant cutting of trees for charcoal production has led to a massive deforestation and threatened the environment in Cagayan.

Through the GGP project, St. Paul University Philippines will procure necessary equipment for the establishment of a facility for the production of corncob (non-wood) based charcoal.

A small truck will also be purchased which will be used to market the charcoal in the municipality and nearby areas. A total of 5,750 farmers and households will be benefited through increase in income and will be provided with trainings and technical assistance on new technologies in charcoal production, livelihood and entrepreneurial skills development.

The proponent of this Project is St. Paul University Philippines (SPUP), an academic institution, which has created a dedicated unit for community development and environment preservation at the grassroots level. The university helps the community in providing trainings and seminars for livelihood and agricultural projects. SPUP also promotes tree-planting activities towards environment preservation.

The Government of Japan, as the top ODA donor for the Philippines, launched the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects in the Philippines in 1989 for the purpose of reducing poverty and helping various communities engaged in grassroots activities.

As of present, 502 grassroots projects have been funded by GGP. Japan believes that this project will not only strengthen the friendship between the peoples of Japan and the Philippines but also contribute to further fostering a strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines toward the future.

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