Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa signed six grant contracts with respective recipient organizations for various social development projects in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao just before the Holy Week break.
These projects are funded through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) implemented by the Embassy of Japan as part of the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD).
The signing ceremony was attended by the Office of the Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Maria Cleofe Gettie Sandoval; Secretary Senen Bacani, member of Government Peace Negotiating Panel for Talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GPH-MILF), Chairman of Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), Dr. Safrullah Dipatuan, and Executive Director of BDA Mohammad Shuaib Yacob, among others.
In his message, Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa emphasized the importance of the peace process in Mindanao and that Japan will continue to support the effort for the peace and stability in Mindanao through development assistance such as the J-BIRD.
The new package of assistance, amounting to $560,131 (approximately P24 million pesos), will form part of Japan’s commitment to peace and development efforts in Mindanao. The package includes three projects in education, two in agriculture and one in health.
These are “The Project for the Acquisition of Two Units of Light Hauling Vehicles for the Farmers of the Municipality of Molave in Zamboanga del Sur; “The Project for Providing Medical Equipment and Fixtures for the Delivery Room of the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center;” “The Project for the Construction of Classrooms for Manglicmot High School in Alamada, North Cotabato;” “The Project for the Construction of Classrooms for Patadon Elementary School in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato;” “The Project for the Construction of Classrooms for Dumadalig Integrated School in Tantangan, South Cotabato;” and “The Project for the Provision of Pre and Postharvest Facilities for the Farmers of the Municipality of Bagumbayan in Sultan Kudarat.”
The detail of each project is already updated on the embassy website.
In addition to the GGP support, the government of Japan has continued to send two senior advisors under the International Monitoring Team (IMT) to assist the reconstruction and development of conflict-affected areas in Mindanao since October 2006.
Moreover, since October 2009, Japan has been a member of the International Contact Group, which performs such roles as giving advice to the parties concerned on the Mindanao Peace Process and participating in peace talks as observers.