Japanese Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Keizo Takewaka, Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Congressman Juan Edgardo Angara, Undersecretary of Department of Agrarian Reform Jerry E. Pacturan, Aurora Provincial Governor Aurora Bellafor Angara-Castillo, Quezon Provincial Governor David C. Saurez, together with Dingalan Municipal Mayor Aurora Zenida Q. Padiernos, Mayor Leovigildo R. Ruzol of the Municipality General Nakar in Quezon and JICA Senior Representative Hiroto Mitsugi led the Groundbreaking ceremonies of the Umiray Bridge under the “Project for the Bridge Construction for Expanded Agrarian Reform Communities Development, Phase II (Umiray Bridge) ” on January 23, 2013 in Umiray Barangay , Aurora Province.
The Umiray Bridge is a collaborative project by the Provincial Government of Quezon and Aurora, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and the municipality of Dingalan and General Nakar. The cost of bridge construction is approximately 1,394 Million Japanese Yen or 760 Million Pesos funded under Japan's Grant Aid.
The bridge is 358 meters long and connects the General Nakar, Quezon and Dingalan, Aurora, The project is expected to generate additional income for farmer beneficiaries and ultimately upgrade the socio-economic and environmental conditions in the area. With the completion of the Umiray project, the mobility of agricultural products and commercial goods as well as access between the target agrarian reform communities (ARCs) with other expanded ARCs will vastly improve. The bridge will also directly benefit the more than 43,000 local residents in Umiray and surrounding areas.
Furthermore, the municipality of Maria Aurora, including the surrounding municipalities will substantially benefit from the project especially during heavy rains and typhoon months when some communities in Municipality General Nakar become isolated.
Japan supports the development goals of the Philippine Government's Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) as a mechanism to alleviate farmers' struggles by assisting projects aimed at strengthening infrastructure improvement and socio-economic development in rural areas for many decades. A major project under CARP that is being assisted by the Japanese Government through its Yen loan scheme is the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Project Three (ARISPIII), which has empowered farmer beneficiaries in 358 ARCs nationwide. This Umiray bridge is a support service project to supplement the unmet needs of agrarian reform beneficiaries not covered by the ARISP III program.
Japan is the Philippines 'largest source of ODA and has been a long-time friend and partner in nationwide socio-economic development. This project serves as a continuing testimony of strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines.
Speech of Min. Keizo Takewaka