October 21, 2022
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) reiterated its continuing support to peace and development in Mindanao to help spur economic growth, job creation, and peace building in conflict-affected areas as the Philippines step up in COVID-19 recovery.
The announcement came following the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiative for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) brochure that outlines the Government of Japan's assistance to Mindanao peace and development. To date, JICA is implementing programs for Mindanao peace and development that includes entrepreneurship development under the HARVEST program (or Harnessing Agribusiness Opportunities Through Robust and Vibrant Entrepreneurship Supportive of Peaceful Transformation); Road Network Development (RNDP) in Conflict-Affected Areas; Program for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Marawi and its Surrounding Areas; and Capacity Development for the Bangsamoro.
Though the Japanese government has been supporting Mindanao peace and development since 1990, J-BIRD started in 2006 and 13 billion pesos of development assistance have been infused towards peace building in the Bangsamoro. This includes cooperation projects in areas such as economic development, promoting governance, improving public services, community development; and security.
"JICA's support to Bangsamoro will continue as it aligns with our human security priorities so we uplift the lives for people in conflict-affected areas, and help them realize the dividends of peace in their lives," said JICA Senior Representative EBISAWA Yo.
Already, nearly a hundred projects have been implemented in the Bangsamoro through J-BIRD, while around 2-billion yen was granted to help construct 18.97 kilometers of roads in Marawi City and surrounding areas. JICA and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) are also working to complete a road network development project in Mindanao's conflict-affected areas and with the project amounting to US$202-million.
"Our work in the Bangsamoro aims to help promote inclusivity and resilience in conflict-affected areas where the global health crisis put more limitations on their ability to access basic necessities and economic opportunities," added Ebisawa.
According to Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) 2021 data, 39.4% of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) were considered poor, the highest among regions nationwide. The situation is further exacerbated with COVID-19 affecting people's access to daily necessities, high prices of goods, and insufficient income, based on the 2020 JICA rapid assessment survey on the impact of the pandemic in the Bangsamoro region.
JICA, the world's largest bilateral aid agency and a key Official Development Assistance (ODA) partner of the Philippines, is supporting peace and development in Mindanao to boost the prosperity in the region. Japan's total ODA for Mindanao peace and development has already reached JPY 51 billion (2002-2019) before the pandemic.
You may download the J-BiRD Brochure here to know more about JICA's assistance to Mindanao. https://www.jica.go.jp/philippine/english/office/others/c8h0vm0000d3hsdw-att/brochure_2021_02.pdf (PDF)