January 5, 2022
Twenty Filipino scholars sent to Japanese major universities under the Project for Human Resource Development Scholarship by Japanese Grant Aid (JDS) returned to the Philippines recently, having completed their postgraduate in Japan despite COVID-19, and committing to ‘give back' to Philippine society.
Three of the 20 scholars - Lev Nikko Macalintal (Department of Agriculture), Sheila Marie Alfonso (Department of Public Works and Highways), and Patrick Cristobal (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) - graduated with honors in their respective postgraduate courses. The program has been sending highly capable Filipino government scholars since 2002 to support capacity building and institutional development in the Philippines. Since its inception, 399 Filipino JDS fellows have studied in Japan under the program.
"As an equal partner of the Philippines, Japan considers human resource development of Filipino civil servants as an important part in sustaining the Philippines' competitive advantages. By sending young Filipinos to Japan's leading universities, we look forward to harnessing the potential of future young leaders who will guide the Philippines' steady, sustainable economic growth," said JICA Chief Representative AZUKIZAWA Eigo during the recent JDS fellows' virtual presentation seminar.
JDS fellows are given opportunities to study priority issues in the Philippines relevant to their respective government agencies. Under the scholarship, Filipino JDS fellows receive mentoring and professional development support from Japan's leading universities such as University of Tokyo, International Christian University, Hokkaido University, Hiroshima University, and Hitotsubashi University to name a few.
"The JDS program is one of the most competitive programs for career development in the government service. I think my experience and knowledge gained from this program will allow me to make quality outputs for the development of my sector," shared JDS fellow Nikko Macalintal.
The recent batch of fellows focused their research on public administration and finance with topics on role of policy in processing business registrations, institution building to address constraints in the Philippines' anti-money laundering obligations, monitoring and evaluation systems for civil society organizations (CSOs), mainstreaming climate change adaptation in the agriculture sector, Philippine response in the West Philippine Sea, and underemployment in the country.
Other Filipino fellows focused on industrial promotion topics (such as SME finance and exports), transportation infrastructure, disaster management, and environment management.
Notable JDS fellows have served in high-level cabinet positions or key decision makers in government agencies such as the Department of Interior and Local Government, Development Bank of the Philippines, and the National Economic and Development Authority, among many others.
Screenshots from the JDS Batch 17 Presentation Seminar conducted online with participation of the JDS Operating Committee members from JICA, NEDA, EOJ, DFA, and CSC.