Japan pledges P1.1 billion aid to BARMM
Presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion meets with MILF leader Abdullah ‘Commander Bravo’ Macapaar prior to the oathtaking of the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority at Malacañang the other day. Macapaar extended his gratitude to Go Negosyo which has ongoing programs for model farms, agri-tech training and enterprise development in partnership with local stakeholders in the Lanao provinces. Go Negosyo through William Belo of Wilcon Depot also donated construction materials for the completion of their masjid at Camp Bilal, Munai. Go Negosyo will also launch the first two MILF model farms in March.

Japan pledges P1.1 billion aid to BARMM

Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - February 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Japanese government is set to provide over P1.1 billion in grants for programs to be implemented in the newly created Bangsamoro region.

Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V and Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda on Thursday exchanged notes on various grant aids during the 7th Meeting of the Philippines-Japan Joint Committee on Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation held in Osaka.

Among those covered by the meeting are the 1.8-billion yen (around P846-million) grant for the urgent improvement of socioeconomic infrastructure in the Bangsamoro region.

The grant will finance the construction of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority centers and provision of relevant equipment.

Japan is also set to provide another 560 million yen (around P263 million) for the economic and social development program, which will provide underground detecting and well-drilling machines to enhance access to water supply and resources in the Bangsamoro region.

Aside from the two projects for Bangsamoro, the Philippines will also receive a 1.2-billion yen (around P564-million) grant for economic and social development program, which will provide train simulators to enhance the capacity development of train drivers and other railway personnel in the country.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the exchange of notes was witnessed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia and officials from the Philippine embassy in Tokyo, the Philippine consulate-general in Osaka, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Japan International Cooperation Agency and other Philippine government agencies.

“The three projects further affirm Japan’s stature as the Philippines’ top official development assistance partner, contributing significantly to the country’s development and capacity-building efforts in infrastructure, security, health, trade, tourism, human resources, agriculture, education, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, among many other areas,” the DFA said.

British Ambassador Daniel Pruce, on the other hand, expressed support for the newly created Bangsamoro region.

On Twitter, Pruce said it was a privilege to attend the oath taking of the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) on Friday in Malacañang.

“The UK supports the efforts of all those working to build a peaceful future for Mindanao,” he added.

It’s all yours

In a speech during the oath taking of the BTA members on Friday, President Duterte reiterated his assurance to the people of Mindanao that they will directly benefit from the development of Liguasan Marsh, which reportedly holds a huge reservoir of natural gas in the region.

Duterte vowed he will enforce the rule of law regarding the development of Mindanao and the use of resources for the Bangsamoro people.

He recognized that sharing of resources is among the contentious issues that need to be looked into to ensure the success of the peace agreement with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“I hope that we can end this. And I assure you –there is one contentious issue about your resources. It’s all yours – Liguasan Marsh,” he said.

“Do not be afraid that you will be deprived of this rich resource. It will always benefit the Mindanaoan people and that is the purpose why we are here,” Duterte told the BTA members.

Duterte urged the Bangsamoro representatives to resort to peaceful resolution of conflicts.

“We do away with greed. We do away with oppression and especially we try. We can always try. Sometimes, it can be done. Sometimes it cannot be reached. But I pray that we will end the hate that pervaded our lives for so many years,” he said.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar echoed the President’s statements that the decommissioning of MILF fighters will also be instrumental in reaching the government’s goal to attain peace in the region. 

“(The) rule of law… is premised on the need to achieve peace in the entire country, which is why we pushed for the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law,” Andanar said.

“And one of the ways to make this BOL really successful is the need to surrender all the firearms of the Muslim rebels in Mindanao. That’s what our President is hoping to happen,” he said.

Andanar said the problem will not stop with the surrender of firearms by the MILF rebels. The government also needs to address other armed groups and splinter groups.

Sources said two separate groups of local and international independent bodies will be directly involved in the decommissioning of MILF fighters.

A senior defense official said the Armed Forces of the Philippines will not actively participate in the decommissioning but only to classify the weapons surrendered. – Christina Mendez, Jaime Laude, John Unson

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