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Phl, Japan sign pact on dev’t projects

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The governments of the Philippines and Japan signed yesterday a contract for over $855,000 or P38 million worth of development projects in conflict-stricken areas in Mindanao.

Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) led the signing of the agreement.

Urabe said the $855,325 grant was part of the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) being implemented by the embassy of Japan.

The new package assistance includes the construction of 18 classrooms, an agricultural training center and four vocational training centers catering to the youth and women. 

“These projects are part of J-BIRD, the Japanese government’s package of assistance in support of peace and development in Mindanao,” Urabe said.

The Japanese ambassador said his country has supported 75 grassroots human security projects amounting to $6.8 million (P300 million) since the launch of J-BIRD in 2006.

Urabe said the government of Japan also continued to send two senior advisers from the International Monitoring Team (IMT) to assist in the reconstruction and development of conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

“Since October 2009, Japan has been a member of the International Contact Group (ICG), which performs such roles as giving advice to the parties concerned on the Mindanao peace process and participating in peace talks as observers,” he said.

Urabe said the scheduled signing on March 27 of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro is a huge step toward peace in Mindanao.

“Let me commend the Philippine government, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the facilitator and all the parties involved in the process for their perseverance and untiring effort in achieving this outcome,” he said.

“Peace and prosperity work together. If there is peace, people can invest and work to build a better life. If the community is prosperous, people will be less belligerent and inclined to seek peaceful solution. It’s a virtuous cycle,” he added. – With Roel Pareño    

                              

COMPREHENSIVE AGREEMENT

INTERNATIONAL CONTACT GROUP

INTERNATIONAL MONITORING TEAM

JAPAN-BANGSAMORO INITIATIVES

JAPANESE AMBASSADOR TOSHINAO URABE AND UNDERSECRETARY LUISITO MONTALBO OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER

MINDANAO

MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT

PEACE

URABE

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