The Embassy of Japan’s Minister Makoto Iyori and First Secretary Tetsuharu Mori, together with Japan International Cooperation Agency’s Chief Representative Yoshio Wada, led the turnover ceremony of the Farm to Market Road under the Project for Community Development in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao (CDC-AAM), in the Municipality of Datu Paglas in Maguindanao Province.
The ceremony held on March 22 was also attended by Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Francisco Villano Jr., Office of the Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process Assistant Secretary Dickson Hermoso, Maguindanao Province Governor Esmael Mangundadatu, North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Mendoza, Datu Paglas Municipal Mayor Abubakar Paglas, and Alamada Municipal Mayor Noemia Bartolome.
In his speech, Minister Iyori highlighted that Japan values the island as a very crucial component in the peace, security, and development not only of the region but also the entire country. He added that farm distribution is one of the serious stumbling blocks in the development of the farm sector. The 21.3 kilometers farm-to-market roads project will undoubtedly improve the accessibilities of farm products as well as enhance the overall market distribution system in the municipalities of Bumbaran, Lanao del Sur, Alamada in North Cotabato, and Datu Paglas in Maguindanao.
These project areas are located in the southwest region of Mindanao, where people have been dealing with lack of socio-economic services and infrastructure brought upon by the long lasting conflict of more than 40 years. As a result, these areas became one of the poorest regions in the Philippines. Moreover, the local farmers had limited market access due to the absence of paved roads. The newly constructed farm to market roads will help the farming communities achieve a stable income through the improved mobility of farm products, and ultimately lead to the development of the region.