With Secretary of Trade and Industry, Jesli A. Lapus, Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura attended the ceremonial launching of the Mindanao component of Phase 4 of the Personal Computers for Public Schools Project (PCPS4) at F. Bangoy National High School in Davao City, on June 25, 2010. The project to distribute personal computers to public schools in Mindanao is funded by Japan through the Counter-value Fund, amounting to 170 Million Pesos, which the Philippine Government accumulated by selling the commodities procured under Japan's Non-Project Grant Aid for the Philippines. The project provides 10 desktop computers and computer peripherals to each of 425 public high school beneficiaries in Mindanao.
With the funding support from the Government of Japan, the Department of Trade and Industry has been spearheading the implementation of the PCPS project since 2001. Phases 1, 2, and 3 of the PCPS project have provided 3,714 public high schools with computers and, thus, reduced the computer backlog in secondary education from 75% in 2001 to 37% to date. The total amount of Japan's contribution to the PCPS project is approximately 1.8 billion pesos.
Japanese Ambassador Katsura mentioned in his speech at the launching ceremony, “the Government of Japan has been giving strong support to IT education in the Philippines as we recognize its major role in the global economy. To help realize and maximize IT potentials in the Philippines, the Government of Japan is happy to continue giving its full support to the Government of the Philippines.”
The project, which is part of Japan's concrete steps to narrow the international digital divide between developed and developing countries, seeks to contribute to the Philippine Government's efforts to develop its human capital in the field of Information Technology (IT). In addition, consistent with a view of the Department of Education (DepEd) to close the gap between the traditional madrasah (Muslim community school) curriculum and the DepEd basic education, the Mindanao component of PCSC4 seeks to address the needs of local schools by providing computers for public schools 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 Mindanao component of the PCPS4 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, in addition to the PCPS project, the Counter-value Fund projects include the project to construct the Philippine Judicial Academy Convention Center of the Supreme Court in Tagaytay, which was inaugurated in May, 2010.
Japan has been the top ODA donor to the Philippines for many years. The assistance through Japan's Non-Project Grant Aid and its Counter-value Fund projects will firmly continue to support the Philippine Government to reduce poverty and improve its economic structure, and will further enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries.
Speech of Ambassador Makoto Katsura