September 5, 2022
JICA Philippines Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema visited Cotabato City recently for courtesy meetings with Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and Minister Mohagher Iqbal of the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) and the co-chair of the Peace Implementing Panels, to discuss the wide-range cooperation between JICA and BARMM.
It was his first visit to Cotabato after his assumption as Chief Representative of JICA Philippines Office in March 2022.
During the courtesy meetings, Chief Representative SAKAMOTO congratulated the members of the new Bangsamoro Transition Authority on their recent appointment at the oath-taking ceremony at the Malacañang Palace. Likewise, he also commended President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.'s strong commitment to the Bangsamoro peace process during the said event.
Moreover, SAKAMOTO reiterated the long-standing and steady cooperation of JICA to the Philippines particularly on the achievement of peace and development in Mindanao. He highlighted that Japan's Official Development Assistance has been anchored on the three (3) important pillars, such as (1) High Quality Growth focusing on sustainability, resilience and inclusiveness, (2) Human Security on the principle of "no-one-left-behind" and (3) Peace and Development in Mindanao. Based on these pillars, SAKAMOTO had committed JICA's tireless support to the Bangsamoro government and people with JICA's full cooperation to improve their lives through realizing decent works, accessible job opportunities and adequate income among others. With this, the Bangsamoro people can enjoy the dividend of peace and can rely on the Bangsamoro government, which can lead to the stability and prosperity in BARMM and the entire Philippines.
"JICA has a long history of various proactive support to the economic growth, basic public service delivery and improvement on governance in BARMM. JICA has supported the infrastructure development such as road network improvement, industrial and agricultural development, and capacity development of Bangsamoro Executive Branch offices for strategic planning and budgeting process. All that we do for BARMM reflect the strong aspiration of JICA not just to maintain but also to expand the cooperation for a better future of the Bangsamoro people, and the entire Philippines" said SAKAMOTO. He also pointed out the effectiveness and importance of learning the history of Japan's modernization, where Bangsamoro people can obtain important secrets and lessons from the rapid growth of Japan.
JICA's support has been further strengthened under the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) from 2006.
In this context, SAKAMOTO highlighted JICA's two new projects supporting the Normalization Process under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which refers to the transformation of armed struggle to peaceful political participation, citizenship, and livelihood. Among them, JICA is about to launch a new technical cooperation project "Socio-Economic Assistance for Bangsamoro Normalization Process" for smooth and effective implementation of livelihood skills training for Decommissioned Combatants and their Communities by strengthening the coordination and implementation capacity of MBHTE-Technical Education and Skills Development-BARMM.
A 1.8 billion-Japanese yen grant project entitled "Programme for the Urgent Improvement of Socioeconomic Infrastructure in Bangsamoro Region" aims to further promote the peace process and stabilize the society in BARMM through urgent reconstruction of the Provincial/City Manpower and Development Center (PCMD) in Marawi City, development of the Regional Manpower Training Centers in the Municipality of Sultan Kudarat and Basilan, and improvement of farm-to-market roads in some barangays in conflict-affected areas.
Chief Minister Ebrahim and Minister Iqbal expressed their utmost gratitude to the Japanese Government and JICA for continuously expanding its support to the Bangsamoro government. They conveyed that these new projects would be of great help to improve the lives of people and the normalization track which is quite lagging behind compared with the political track that is already established. These projects will address the needs of the ex-combatants and improve the state of their livelihood.
In addition to those courtesy meetings, SAKAMOTO also visited the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Regional Manpower Development Center, Metro Cotabato Water District, and the candidate sites of the proposed water treatment facility and the road project.
Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema with Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim during the courtesy meeting on August 24, 2022 at the Office of the Chief Minister, BARMM Government Center, Cotabato City.
Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema with Minister Mohagher Iqbal of Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education on August 26, 2022.
Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema and Senior Representative EBISAWA Yo of JICA Philippines Office with Director Jonaib Usman of MBHTE-TESD-BARMM at TESDA Regional Manpower Development Center.
JICA courtesy meeting with Board of Director Chairperson Bimbo Sinsuat of Metro Cotabato Water District on August 25, 2022.
Site inspection at the proposed water treatment facility.
Site inspection of JICA with Director-General Danilo Ong of Ministry Public Works at the proposed road project sites.