Minister Makoto Iyori of the Embassy of Japan attended the turnover ceremony last February 24, 2017 for “The Project for the Construction of Clasrooms for Bayugan National Comprehensive High School in Bayugan, Agusan Del Sur”. This Project is part of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP)1. The ceremony was attended by Hon. Adolfo Plaza, Governor of Agusan del Sur, Hon. Maria Valantina Plaza, Congress Women, First District, Agusan del Sur, Dr. Imelda N. Sabornido, Officer-In-Charge Schools Division Superintendent, DepED, Bayugan City. The teachers, students and parents of Bayugan National Comprehensive High School (BNCHS) also joined the event.
BNCHS is an important public school in the province of Agusan del Sur which provides productive education especially to a large number of the poor students in the area. The school is well known among the students due to the wide variety of courses under its curriculum such as Science and Technology, Journalism, Arts, Technical Vocational Courses, and Sports. However, due to the increasing number of enrollees, the school was faced with problem of lacking classrooms.
To address this problem, the Embassy of Japan decided to support the school through Philam Foundation, Inc., under the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD)2 with the grant amounting to One Hundred Two Thousand Three Hundred Thirty Three US Dollars (USD 102,333) or approximately 4.3 million pesos last 2016. This grant covered construction of five-(5) classroom buildings with attached toilets as well as school furniture. This project aims to provide safe and proper learning environment for the benefits of around 6,300 pupils of this school. The EOJ hopes that improving the learning environment of children would also 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 former 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).