The government of Japan, through the Japan Bangsamoro Initiatives and Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) recently turned over a school building in the province of Maguindanao, particularly in Barangay Bagoinged, Pagalungan town on November 17.
J-BIRD, launched in December 2006, has already poured in 19.1 billion Japanese Yen (P7.8 billion) to fund various development projects in the conflict-affected areas in the Bangsamoro areas in Mindanao.
As an initiative, J-BIRD is aimed to contribute to the peace process in Mindanao through delivering development assistance projects dubbed as “Dividends of Peace” in the conflict-affected areas in the Bangsamoro.
The turn-over was graced by Takuhiro Watanabe from the Embassy of Japan and Major General Wira Zamrose bin Mohd Zein, a member of the Malaysian Armed Forces and currently serving as the head of mission of the International Monitoring Team (IMT) Mission 11.
In his message, Watanabe reiterated that the government of Japan is committed to continue in providing development assistance in the Philippines in any way possible.
He also asked the teachers, parents and students to take care of the building and use it optimally as it will benefit more young people in the area.
“Assisting in education is a contribution for the future of Bangsamoro,” was the central message of General Zambrose as he thanked the government of Japan for the project.
He added that the project was the result of the great contributions from the Japanese people with the aim to invest education for the future leaders of Bangsamoro people.
“I sincerely hope that the Japanese government and its people will further assist the Bangsamoro, not only in infrastructure, but also spirituality and morally,” he added.
The turn over ceremony was also attended by Samir S. Ampatuan, Al Hadj, the district supervisor of Pagalungan District; Abdulkadir M. Abu Bakar, executive director of the Bangsamoro Development and Resource Center (BDRC); Kodjack P. Andoy, barangay chairman of Bagoinged); and Samir G. Pidtukasan, principal of Upper Bagoinged Elementary School.
The project was funded under the Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) in coordination with Joint GPH-MILF Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities (JCCCH); the IMT, particularly the Socio-Economic Assistance Component (SEAC); and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP).
SEAC of IMT is led by Japan aimed to assist the GPH (Government of the Philippines) and the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) in determining the development needs of conflict affected communities, assist in the formulation of development plan and early implementation in close coordination with Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), and facilitate the effective delivery of the development projects.