Japanese Deputy Chief of Mission Minister Motohiko Kato is going to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of Japan-funded “Japan-ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) Friendship Hall and Training Center” in Cotabato City on May 17th, 2010, with ARMM acting Governor Ansaruddin Alonto Adiong. The training center is funded by Japan through the Counter-value Fund, amounting to 28.8 million pesos, which the Philippine Government accumulated by selling the commodities procured under Japan's Non-Project Grant Aid for the Philippines.
The Japan-ARMM Friendship Hall and Training Center will serve as a training center for Human Resource Development Programs of ARMM's regional line agencies and adjacent administrative regions and cities. The building will house the ARMM Development Academy (ADA) in charge of sustaining and harmonizing the region's Human Resource Development Programs, training rooms, and conference hall, among others. About 90 trainings, workshops, seminars are planned to be accommodated in this training center.
In collaboration with ongoing Japan's ODA projects, such as ARMM Human Capacity Development Project and the dispatch of Senior Advisor for Regional Development to ARMM, it is expected that the construction of the training center will also contribute to human resource development of the ARMM and other local government units in the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.
The Government of Japan has been implementing “Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development” or “J-BIRD” designed to contribute to the peace process and development in the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao and the surrounding areas in the ARMM through its economic cooperation. The construction of the training center is considered to be one of the J-BIRD projects and exemplifies Japan's active role in the reconstruction and development in Mindanao.
The Counter-value Fund has enabled the Philippine Government to implement various projects for its socio-economic development. Notably, the Counter-value Fund projects include the project to distribute personal computers for public high schools nationwide (PCs for Public Schools Project) and the project to construct the PHILJA (Philippine Judicial Academy) Training Center in Tagaytay, Cavite Province, which was inaugurated on May 10, 2010.
Japan has been the top ODA donor to the Philippines for many years. Japan's Non-Project Grant Aid and its Counter-value Fund projects will firmly continue to support the Philippine Government's initiative to reduce poverty and improve its economic structure, and will further enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries.