June 23, 2022
JICA resumes the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) Program with redeployment of two volunteers to the Philippines this month, so far, after a halt in its operations at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The JOCV Program is a key component of JICA's comprehensive Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Philippines that aims to share Japan's know-how and technical expertise in developing communities and to enhance two nations unwavering friendship. The program has a history of 56 years, started in 1966, where 1,676 volunteers have so far been dispatched to various agencies nationwide in the Philippines. Just before the pandemic occurred in 2020, 31 JICA volunteers in 14 provinces that were engaged in the field were compelled to return to Japan even during their tenure with large reluctance.
After nearly two years, the first batch of JOCVs, Mr. SEKIGUCHI Takuya and Ms. MIYAGAWA Yoshimi will enter service in the Philippines. Cavite State University and Rizal Experimental Station and Pilot School of Cottage Industries enthusiastically receive the first cohorts, respectively. This latest batch of JOCVs will be part of history as the first to return to the Philippines and continue the legacy of selfless and dedicated community development service of volunteers before them.
New batch of JOCVs Mr. SEKIGUCHI Takuya and Ms. MIYAGAWA Yoshimi with JICA Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema and Volunteer Section staff.
"When the pandemic happened in 2020, not just Japanese volunteers but all international volunteers in the Philippines had to unwillingly return to their home countries. But this did not make us give up our very important JOCV program. I am extremely pleased to and honored to announce the resumption of our JOCV Program to the Philippines after the two-year interval. This is the salient example of JICA's firm commitment and actual action. We are back now!" said JICA Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema.
In 2016, the JOCV Program received the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia's Nobel Prize equivalent, for their noble contribution in Asia for more than half a century. The program was conceptualized to promote self-reliance, and strengthen the bond of friendship between Japan and its partner countries like the Philippines.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) through the Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency (PNVSCA) is welcoming JICA volunteers' return with higher appreciation and special citation for their contribution to the Philippines. Ms. MIYAGAWA Yoshimi will not only impart knowledge on food preparation, but also share Japanese food culture and its nutritious know-how. Meanwhile, Mr. SEKIGUCHI Takuya will assume his role of Personal Computer (PC) instructor to support Digital Transformation (DX), a shift to digital technologies to improve business processes and solutions.
With the JICA volunteers back in action, it is planned to expand the focus fields and geographical areas where they will be supporting in the new normal to foster sustainable, inclusive, and resilient growth in the Philippines. JICA continues to work closely with Filipino friends on the grassroots level to address various development challenges and further enhance two nations' ties. Thus, it remains staunchly committed on expanding JOCV program.