Three (3) Turnover Ceremonies of Japan-Funded Classrooms in Pagalungan, Maguindanao, Mindanao

Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC) - Press Release No. 65 - 2016

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Second Secretary Takuhiro Watanabe attended three turnover ceremonies on November 17, 2016 in Pagalungan, Maguindanao. The ceremonies were also attended by Major General Datuk Wira Zambrose Bin Mohd Zain, Head of Mission of the International Monitoring Team (IMT); Mr. Samer Ampatuan Al-Hadj, Pagalungan District Supervisor, Department of Education; officials from the Municipality of Pagalungan as well as the respective proponent and principal of each school. This is part of the Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP)1.
 
The municipality of Pagalungan is one of the conflict affected areas in the province of Maguindanao. The area has also often been flooded especially during rainy season. Due to these situations, students held classes in dilapidated classrooms and in makeshift classrooms made of wooden pillar and coconut leaves. Given the poor educational environment in the area, there was an urgent need for new and safer classrooms for the students.
 
In order to improve the situation, the Embassy of Japan (EOJ) decided to support the municipality through the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-Bird)2. A total of USD 346,275 or approximately 14.5 million pesos where provided by the people of Japan to the municipality of Pagalungan for the implementation of the following projects: 
 
  1.  “The Project for the Construction and Repair of Classroom Building of Dataya Elementary School” This project, which was implemented by the Muslim Youth Religious Organization, Incorporated in 2012, consists of the construction of six (6) classrooms equipped with 550 armchairs, 11 blackboards and 11 sets of teacher’s tables and chairs.
  2. “The Project for the Construction of a Classroom School Building for Upper Bagoinged Elementary School” This project, which was implemented by the  Bangsamoro Development and Resource Center, Incorporated in 2013, includes the construction of six (6) classrooms equipped with 300 armchairs, 6 blackboards and 6 sets of teacher’s tables and chairs
  3. “The Project for the Construction of Classrooms for Sapakan Elementary School” This project, which was implemented by the Municipality of Pagalungan in 2014, includes the provision of six (6) classrooms equipped with 300 armchairs, 6 blackboards.

With the above projects, conducive and safe classrooms are provided to the students. The EOJ hopes that the provided assistance would improve the learning environment of children, who in turn, would play an important role in the achievement of peace and development in Mindanao.  
 
1The 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. To date, there are 519 grassroots projects that have been funded by GGP.
 
2Since 2006, Japan has been intensively implementing Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects and other ODA projects for conflict affected areas in Mindanao, collectively called J-BIRD (Japan-Bangsamoro Initiative for Reconstruction and Development). Their total amount is over 200 million US Dollar. Furthermore, when President Aquino made a state visit to Japan last June 2015, Japanese Prime Minister, Mr. Shinzo Abe, expressed at their summit meeting his support for efforts by the Government of the Philippines to secure enduring peace in Mindanao, and stated that the Government of Japan will promote the J-BIRD II (Note), in view of the establishment of a new autonomous political entity.
(Note: A new phase of the J-BIRD that will focus more on ensuring economic autonomy in the Bangsamoro Area).