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JICA widens infra build up assistance to BARMM

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has expanded its assistance to the Bangsamoro region through a new program that seeks to improve infrastructure facilities in the region.

JICA said the expansion of the assistance to the Bangsamoro is through a 1.8 billion yen grant for the “Programme for Urgent Improvement of Socioeconomic Infrastructure in Bangsamoro Region.”

It aims to promote the peace process and stabilize society through the reconstruction of the Provincial/City Manpower and Development Center (PCMD) in Marawi City as well as Regional Manpower Training Centers in the Municipality of Sultan Kudarat and Basilan and farm-to-market roads in conflict-affected areas.

“JICA has a long history of various proactive support to the economic growth, basic public service delivery and improvement on governance in BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao),” JICA Philippines Chief Representative Takema Sakamoto said.

“All that we do for BARMM reflects 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,” he added.

Sakamoto said apart from this, the JICA would also support 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.

He said JICA would 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.

This will be done through efforts that strengthen the coordination and implementation capacity of the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE)-Technical Education and Skills Development-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,” Sakamoto said.

BARMM Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim and Minister Mohagher Iqbal of the MBHTE 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 lagging behind the political track that has already been established.

These projects will address the needs of the ex-combatants and improve the state of their livelihood.

Sakamoto visited Cotabato City recently for courtesy meetings with Ebrahim and Iqbal, who is also the co-chair of the Peace Implementing Panels, to discuss the wide-range cooperation between JICA and BARMM. -30-

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