December 26, 2019
The signing of the grant agreement for the detailed design study of two road network projects in Mindanao will help revitalize economic activities and improve access to social services in conflict areas.
The detailed design study will cover two sub-projects of the Road Network Development Project in Conflict Affected Areas is Mindanao (RNDP-CAAM) of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH): Matanog-Barira-Alamada-Libungan Road (Matanog – Barira Section) and Tapian Lebak Coastal Road. In addition to this grant assistance, JICA is also providing a US$ 202.04 million official development loan for the detailed design and construction / improvement of four other sub-projects under RNDP-CAAM: Parang Balabagan Road, Marawi City Ring Road, Parang East Diversion Road, and Manuangan Parang Road.
The JICA-DPWH road project is part of JICA's support to peace building through infrastructure development in Mindanao. Government data in 2015 showed that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao remains the poorest region in the Philippines with 53% poverty incidence. The armed conflict also affected the region's connectivity with ARMM's road density at 0.10, lower than the average of Mindanao.
"Through the road network project, people from conflict-affected areas will have links to markets, public facilities, and improve agribusiness potential of their place," said JICA Senior Representative Kiyo Kawabuchi. "Building roads in remote, conflict-affected communities will help bridge the economic gap in the region and help consolidate peace."
The Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022 also underscores regional connectivity through infrastructure development (including expanding road systems and upgrading or rehabilitating roads) as among its priorities.
JICA works towards peace and development in Mindanao as one of its key assistance pillars in the Philippines. JICA has been supporting projects in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao for more than two decades. Since 2006, JICA has been implementing peacebuilding initiatives in Mindanao under the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiative for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) and other development cooperation including building socio-economic infrastructure, and supporting good governance, livelihood, and industry development.