Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe signed eight (8) grant contracts with respective recipient organizations for various social development projects in conflict - affected areas in Mindanao at 10:00 a.m. on March 20, 2014 at Asotria Plaza Hotel. These projects are funded through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) implemented by the Embassy of Japan as part of the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD).
The signing ceremony was attended by the Office of the Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo, Program Division Head of Bangsamoro Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) Windel Diangcalan and Head of Mission of IMT Mggn Datu Abd Samad Bin Yaakub.
In his speech, Ambassador Urabe expressed commendation for the efforts made by the Philippine government, Moro Islam Liberation Front (MILF), and the facilitator. He also stated that J-BIRD would reverse the vicious cycle of poverty and violence into a virtuous cycle of peace and prosperity, hoping that the newly-signed 8 projects would give another push to the peace process.
The new package of assistance, amounting to 855,325 US dollars (approximately 38 million pesos), will form part of Japan's commitment to peace and development efforts in Mindanao.
The package includes the construction of 18 classrooms; an agricultural training center; four vocational training centers mainly targeting youth and women. The detail of each project is provided in the individual press releases.
Japan provides agricultural training center in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon
Japan constructs Six Classrooms in Pagalungan, Maguindanao
Japan funds Training Center for Women in Lupon, Davao Oriental
Japan constructs Six Classrooms in Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao
Japan funds Training Center for Women in Malapatan, Sarangani
Japan funds Training Center for Youth and Children in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao
Japan constructs Six Classrooms in Pikit, North Cotabato
Japan funds Training Center for Bangsamoro Youth in Mati, Davao Oriental
These projects are part of the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD), the Japanese government's package of assistance in support of peace and development in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao. Since the launch of J-BIRD in 2006, Japan has supported 75 GGP projects in the total amount of 6.8 million US dollars (approximately 300 million pesos) through J-BIRD as of March 2014.
In addition to the GGP support, the Government of Japan has continued to send two senior advisors under the International Monitoring Team (IMT) to assist the reconstruction and development of conflict-affected areas in Mindanao since October 2006. Moreover, since October 2009, Japan has been a member of the International Contact Group (ICG), which performs such roles as giving advice to the parties concerned on the Mindanao Peace Process and participating in peace talks as observers.
Speech by Ambassador Toshinao Urabe