On August 15, Japan had a turnover ceremony for their training center project they funded for the Mangyans in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro. The ceremony was attended by Benjamin Abadiano, President, Ilawan, Inc.; Nelson De Guzman, representative of LGU of Naujan; Mona Liza Benter, representative from National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) Provincial Office; and Atsushi Kobayashi, Third Secretary of the Embassy of Japan.
The population of Naujan is approximately 5,000, or 98 percent of which are Indigenous People commonly known as Mangyan. They live in mountainous areas, which hinder them from having access to appropriate education. Livelihood opportunities are also limited in this area. Currently, Mangyans in Naujan is said to be in the extremely poverty situation with an average monthly income of P1,000 to P2,000.
The project was implemented by Ilawan, Inc.—a non-government organization. It was funded by the Embassy of Japan through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) in 2015. A total of US$87,081 was provided for construction of a training center, which will be used to provide trainings on livelihood, leadership, cultural education, and agricultural productivity for the Mangyans.
The facility is expected to help this indigenous people to overcome poverty and will give them the opportunity to be involved in different development activities for livelihood improvement, as well as environmental protection and preservation. It also aims to promote women’s empowerment since more than 60 percent of the target beneficiaries of the project are women.
The Government of Japan, as the top ODA donor for the Philippines, launched the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects in the country in 1989 for the purpose of reducing poverty and helping various communities engaged in grassroots activities. At present, 525 grassroots projects have been implemented by GGP. Japan believes that this project will not only strengthen the friendship between the peoples of Japan and the Philippines, but also contribute in sustaining strategic partnership between the two countries.