Japanese Government through JICA, a long-time reliable and resilient partner of the Philippine Government to sustain the Mindanao peace process and achieve lasting peace
By EDD K. USMAN | Twitter: @edd1819 | Instagram: @bluestar0910 | Facebook: SDN — Science, Digital & Current Affairs
Short link: https://wp.me/paaccn-lrs
(SDN) — A long-time partner of the Philippine Government (GPH) since 2002 in the Mindanao peace process has vowed to continue its support, a reliable and resilient humanitarian act for Filipinos.
At left, Minister of Parliament and Education Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal. Right photo is JICA Mission Team Chief Representative to the Philippines Sakamoto Takeyama. (Photographs: MBHTE)
This is the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which has representative office in Makati City, Metro Manila. The Japanese humanitarian agency started its support with the J-BIRD (Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development).
For many years the Japanese Government through JICA has been a reliable and consistent enabler of the Mindanao peace process, from the peace talks between the Philippine Government (GPH) with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). And continues to do so today helping achieve lasting peace in war-torn Mindana.
Aside from JICA there are also many other peace partners of the GPH towards sustaining the peace process, but the Japanese agency easily stands out, some observers have commented.
Apparently to demonstrate this continuing goodwill to the Filipino nation in general, and to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), in particular, the JICA Mission Team to the Philippines visited the BARMM on Friday, August 26, 2022.
The JICA Mission Team delegation paid a courtesy call on the BARMM’s Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (BARMM-MBHTE) headed by Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal. He is also Member of Parliament of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which runs and governs the BARMM until 2025.
BTA Chief Minister Ahod Balawag “Al-Hajj Murad” Ebrahim had re-appointed Iqbal to the MBHTE for a new three-year term until 2025. The education chief of the BARMM is also a BTA Member of Parliament (MP).
JICA Mission Team Chief Representative to the Philippines Sakamoto Takema led the delegation in the courtesy call on MBHTE’s Iqbal, during which the two parties walked through JICA’s assistance and discussed the Japanese Government’s grant to the Philippines aimed at further stabilizing the peace process through socio-economic programs.
At the meeting, JICA Philippines expressed full and strong support to the Normalization Process of the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) to sustain peace and security in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BAR).
By emphasizing the role of technical-vocational education and training (TVET) in promoting employment, financial assistance for the decommissioned combatants through infrastructure and training equipment support in training centers in BARMM is one of the priorities of the said grant.
One of the priorities of the JICA grant is a financial assistance for the decommissioned combatants of the MILF through building of infrastructure and provision of training equipment support in training centers in the Bangsamoro region, with emphasis on the role of TVET (technical-vocational education and training). The grant also covers the rehabilitation of the Provincial/City Manpower Development Center (PCMDC) in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, construction of dormitories, and procurement of training equipment.
“Moreover, JICA will also provide technical assistance in conducting Training of Trainers for relevant trade areas as well as develop monitoring and evaluation tools that can help enhance the programs and projects of the Technical Education and Skills Development (MBHTE-TESD),” the MBHTE said.
A new political entity, the Bangsamoro region, established in 2018 by the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to implement the CAB, is composed of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi, as well as the 63 SGA villages that voted “yes” in a plebiscite in January and February 2019 to be under the BARMM jurisdiction.
The BARMM population per the Philippine Atlas has 4,404,288 people. It has 116 municipalities: Basilan, 11 municipalities; Lanao del Sur, 39; Maguindanao, 36; Sulu, 19; and Tawi-Tawi, 11. Its component cities are Cotabato (the regional center and capital) in Maguindanao; Lamitan in Basilan; and Marawi in Lanao del Sur. (✓)