Photo shows Embassy of Japan's Economic Minister Akio Isomata (right side) and Bangamoro Development Agency Executive Director Mohammad Shuaib Yacob unveiling the building marker of the recently completed Skills Training Center for Bangsamoro Women in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
Front view of the two-storey Skills Training Center for Bangsamoro Women
Minister for Economic Affairs Akio Isomata of the Embassy of Japan attended the turn-over ceremony of “The Project for the Expansion of Skills Training Center for Bangsamoro Women” on February 16, 2011 in Barangay Simuay, Sultan Kudarat Municipality. The project, amounting to USD 94,517 (approximately 4 million pesos), is funded by the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).
The ceremony was witnessed by Major General Datuk Baharom Bin Hamzah, Head of Mission of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), Major Carlos Sol, Head of Secretariat of the Coordinating Committee on Cessation of Hostilities-Government of the Republic of the Philippines (CCCH-GPH), Mr. Said Sheikh, Chairman of the Coordinating Committee on Cessation of Hostilities-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (CCCH-MILF), Ustadz Mohammad Shuaib Yacob, Executive Director of Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) and Ms. Julie Maliga, President of Ittihadun-Nisa' Foundation, Inc. (INFO).
In 2006, the Embassy of Japan supported Ittihadun-Nisa' Foundation, Inc. (INFO), a local NGO, in the construction of the Skills Training Center by GGP. In the center, various livelihood trainings have been provided for the marginalized sectors of the community including Bangsamoro women and Out-of-School Youth (OSY) who have been affected by the armed conflicts. The aim of the trainings is to equip them with new skills such as dressmaking and food processing so that they can gain their livelihoods by themselves . After the success of the training projects, INFO faced a larger number of women and youth who also wanted to join the activities. INFO came to recognize that, t o accommodate them , the expansion of the existing training center was necessary .
Under these circumstances, I NFO sought the assistance from the Embassy of Japan again to construct an additional facility that will cater to an increased number of Bangsamoro women and children. In this project, a new building including dormitories has been constructed. Necessary equipments for skills trainings, such as sewing machines and food processors, have also been provided. By having dormitories, people from remote areas can also have opportunities to benefit from the trainings conducted in the center. Japan believes that this project will not only strengthen friendship between the peoples of Japan and the Philippines, but also contribute to fostering a strategic partnership between the two countries towards the future.
Minister Isomata stated in his speech, “I really hope that this new facility will contribute to the improvement of livelihoods of Bangsamoro women and children and uplift the socio-economic situation in this area”. In addition, he stressed that the accumulation of these kinds of small steps could lead to the realization of peace, stability and development in Mindanao.
This project has been implemented under the J-BIRD or Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development. The Government of Japan , as the top donor of the official development assistance for the Philippines, launched the J-BIRD in December 2006 as part of its commitment to support ing peace and development efforts in Mindanao. The J-BIRD has assisted construction or rehabilitation of school buildings, health facilities, training centers, and water supply systems. As of early February, 2011, forty-one (41) projects have been implemented as J-BIRD projects, amounting to around USD 3 million.
Speech of Minister Akio Isomata