Japan signs P33-M grant for Muslims in Mindanao

March 22, 2010 11:45 pm 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, March 22 — A new package of assistance for Mindanao’s Muslims, amounting to 732,447 U.S. dollars (about P33 million), was unveiled today by Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura in ceremonies witnessed by stakeholders of the Mindanao peace process, including the Malaysian head of mission of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), Major General Datuk Baharom Bin Hamzah.

Eight projects are to be funded and the latest amount is the fourth batch of assistance under the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) funded through Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).

To be funded are the construction of three school buildings, two training centers, a women’s crisis center, a potable water supply system, and a rural health unit.

Japan, Malaysia, Brunei and Libya form the IMT on Mindanao. Japan is also an observer in the International Contact Group (ICG) of talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), of which Kuala Lumpur is the facilitator.

Others witnessing were the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Secretary Annabelle Abaya; Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, chairman of the GRP panel; and Vice Chairman Dr. Safullah Dipatuan of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA).

Japan will redeploy two development experts from its embassy in Manila to the IMT, which has resumed operations in February.

J-BIRD was launched in 2006 to pursue Japan’s commitment to the peace process between GRP and the MILF. Since the launching, the embassy said Japan has already supported 32 grassroots projects totaling 2.1 million U.S. dollars (about P95 million). (PNA)



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