Honorable Senator Edgardo J. Angara
Honorable Congressman Juan Edgardo M. Angara
Lone District, Aurora Province
Honorable Undersecretary Jerry E. Pacturan
Department of Agrarian Reform
Honorable Governor David C. Suarez
Honorable Governor Bellaflor Angara-Castillo
Honorable Mayor Zenaida Q. Padiernos
Municipality of Dingalan, Aurora Province
Honorable Mayor Leovigildo R. Ruzol
Municipality of General Nakar, Quezon Province
Senior Representative Hiroto MItsugi
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Philippines
Ladies and Gentlemen ,
Magandang umaga sa inyong lahat. (Good morning to everyone.)
First of all, I wish to express sincere appreciation to the vote of confidence in Japan as the biggest development partner of the Philippines. Last month when Typhoon Pablo came, Japan immediately extended emergency assistance to address the needs of the victims in the affected areas. This month Japan's new Foreign Minister Kishida visited Manila. The Philippines is the first country for Japan's Foreign Minister's overseas trip. This is the reaffirmation of the strategic partnership between the two countries and special bond of friendship among us.
Agriculture is one of the common features of the Japanese and Filipino People. We respect farmers and land. We have continuously assisted various programs and yen loan projects in your country through the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Program III (ARISPIII) for many years.
Japan has provided holistic forms of assistance to the people of Aurora. We assisted the construction of two training centers to improve medical services and facilities with the upgrading of the Maria Aurora Community Hospital four years ago. In addition, two years ago, we provided medical facilities with the construction of the Aurora Memorial Hospital, and improved accessibility with the completion of Bazal Bridge.
The Umiray Bridge project is a grant assistance from Japan totaling approximately 1.4 Billion Yen or around 760 million Pesos. This project is intended to connect the towns of General Nakar, Quezon and Dingalan, Aurora. At present, a large part of the agrarian reform communities in the eastern sector of Quezon are separated from the Aurora mainland by the Umiray River. These communities become physically isolated from all social and medical services especially during heavy rains.
The construction of the Umiray bridge will benefit around 13,700 people in four Agrarian Reform Communities and about 36,000 people in 18 other barangays of Quezon and Aurora. It will help agricultural development of around 11,000 hectares of farmland. When the bridge is completed, it will provide critical access for farmers to transport their products to the market, and will facilitate accessibility for merchants, students, government workers and the people affected in case of emergencies.
We sincerely hope that the Umiray Bridge will improve the living conditions of the beneficiary-communities thus ensuring human security.
In closing, I wish to express our appreciation to Senator Angara and the Department of Agrarian Reform as well as the Provincial Governments of Aurora and Quezon, and Municipalities of General Nakar and Dingalan who greatly helped the preparation of this project. We firmly believe that with your dedication, the project will be successfully implemented and everybody will benefit from this Bridge.
Maraming sa la mat. Ma bu hay tayong lahat .
(Thank you very much. Cheers to us all.)