Embassy of Japan Showcases Ongoing Collaborative Initiatives in Mindanao

On 04 – 06 March 2024, the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines hosted a Mindanao ODA Press Tour, offering an in-depth look into Japan’s peace and capacity building initiatives in Mindanao. For three days, members of the Embassy as well as a select members of the media delved into impactful projects aimed at fostering collaboration and development between the two nations.
Day 1: Capacity Development for Bangsamoro (CDPB) Unveiled
The tour commenced with an overview of the Capacity Development Project for Bangsamoro (CDPB) at the JICA Cotabato Project Office. The media delegation then traveled to BARMM MAFAR in Brgy. Nuling, Sultan Kudarat, where they witnessed in-field training for farmers under the Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion (SHEP) Approach, a crucial part of the CDPB. Insights from interviews with trainers and farmers, coupled with a visit to a demo field, highlighted the practical outcomes of this collaborative project.
The focus then shifted to the Ibn Taimiyah Foundation Academy (ITFA), where the delegation explored classrooms constructed through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP). Dr. Ombra Imam, ITFA Director for Research and Extension, provided valuable perspectives on the collaborative educational efforts between Japan and the Philippines.
Day 2: Community Development Initiatives in the Limelight
Day two continued the exploration with a spotlight on community development initiatives. The delegation commenced the day with an insightful visit to the Food for Asset (FFA) Project in Datu Piang, Maguindanao del Sur, in partnership with WFP. Observing community assets in Barangay Reina Regente, the media delegation engaged with WFP staff and beneficiaries, gaining valuable insights into the project's impact and its role in community development.
The tour then proceeded to Tamontaka V, Cotabato City, exploring the Project for Enhancing Food Security and Livelihood in Bangsamoro being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Afterwards, the participants learned more about the Capacity Development and Assistance for Vocational Training for Decommissioned Combatants Project by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), emphasizing expanded livelihood opportunities for decommissioned combatants.
The day concluded with an exclusive interview with JICA Special Adviser Mr. Ochiai Naoyuki, who has been imparting his extensive experiences in peacebuilding in Mindanao to the Chief Minister of BARMM.
Day 3: Prioritizing Peace and Security in Mindanao
The final day of the Mindanao ODA Tour focused on enhancing and sustaining peace and security mechanisms in Mindanao. The media delegation journeyed to the Joint Peace and Security Committee (JPSC) Secretariat, gaining insights into collaborative efforts to capacitate members of the Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST). The visit to the Operation Center and interviews with JPSC Co-chairs and JPST members provided a comprehensive understanding of the structures and functions involved in fostering regional stability.