June 8, 2022
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said it is proactively cultivating new areas of collaboration with the wide-ranged alumni network of JICA-sponsored Filipino scholars and trainees to further boost Japan-Philippine relations and to address emerging issues such as human security and economic recovery.
(L-R) JAAP Officers Osric Quibot and Junelyn Pagunsan with JICA Chief Representative Sakamoto.
JICA Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema received the JICA Alumni Association of the Philippines (JAAP) President Junelyn Pagunsan and Vice President for External Affairs Osric Primo Quibot in a courtesy meeting recently. There, JAAP affirmed its support to human resource development in the Philippines as well as to projects of former scholars and trainees implementing technology transfer and community extension work.
JAAP is composed of JICA-sponsored Filipino scholars who graduated from premier Japanese universities and past participants of technical trainings conducted in partnership with respectable institutions in Japan.
"Filipino scholars and trainees who went to Japan are ambassadors of goodwill between our nations. They learn from the best universities and institutions in Japan and are equipped to introduce innovations and best practices that can further contribute to nation building," said JICA Philippines Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema.
As of JFY 2021, there are over 42 thousand Filipino graduates and ex-participants of scholarships and trainings in Japan, under the auspices of JICA as part of Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) that seeks to share Japan's development experiences and advanced expertise with partner countries and foster collaboration to address emerging issues in society.
JAAP has, as one of their remarkable pursuits, led knowledge-sharing activities about Japan's experiences on earthquake disaster recovery, flood forecasting and control such as a special seminar in collaboration with Japanese professors from Kobe University and University of Tokyo and a regional activity with local counterparts of Alaminos, Pangasinan. They also organized outreach activities to help families in Legaspi, Albay and Cagayan following the back-to-back typhoons that hit the Philippines in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.
The current JAAP President is Junelyn Pagunsan, a returned scholar who studied in Ritsumeikan University (Biwako-Kusatsu Campus) under the Japanese Grant Aid for Human Resource Development (JDS Project) in 2010, is now an Associate Graft Investigation Officer III at the Office of the Ombudsman. She reiterated JAAP's unique and important role in contributing to Philippines-Japan relations and implementing capacitating activities and projects to address contemporary development issues in the country such as disaster management, poverty alleviation, environmental management and public administration through knowledge sharing events among others.
"There are many young Filipinos who have strong passion for public services and we definitely encourage those who are former recipients of JICA scholarships and trainings to continue supporting international cooperation activities and to keep on giving back to society," added Sakamoto.
It can be recalled that Japan's steady growth and industrialization can also be traced through its human resource development initiatives such as technology transfer from Japanese students who studied in foreign universities. Through JICA's human resource development programs, Filipino scholars and trainees also follow the same path of contributing to Philippine development by studying and training in Japan, and eventually holding key positions in government and actively participating in international cooperation.
JAAP maintains a strong network within the country and the ASEAN region. It is affiliated with Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA), an umbrella organization with a strong professional network composed of Filipinos from various sectors of Philippine society who studied or trained in Japan. Other affiliated organizations with PHILFEJA include the Philippine Association of Japanese Scholars, Inc. (PHILAJAMES), Philippine Cultural and Technical Association of Returned Overseas Scholars, Inc. (PHILCULTAROS), Association of Philippine Private Alumni of Japanese Universities, Inc., (APPAJU) and Samahan ng mga Pilipinong Nag-aral at Nanirahan sa Nippon, Inc. (SAPILNIP). JAAP is also the principal counterpart of the Philippines to the ASEAN-Japan Friendship Association for the 21st Century (AJAFA-21), an organization composed of JICA alumni associations in ASEAN countries namely Brunei Darussalam (PERTAB-21), Cambodia (JICA-AC), Indonesia (KAPPIJA-21), Japan (DAY), Lao PDR (LAYCFP), Malaysia (PAMAJA), Myanmar (JAAM), Singapore (SAJAFA-21), Thailand (FYAA), and Vietnam (VACYF).
JAAP affirmed its strong aspiration to continue their collaboration efforts with PHILFEJA and AJAFA-21 to make significant contributions to nation building and to strengthen the friendship between the Philippines and Japan, as well as other ASEAN nations.
JICA Chief Representative Sakamoto (left) and JAAP President Junelyn Pagunsan (right).