Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe signed eight (8) grant contracts with recipient organizations for various social development projects in conflict - affected areas in Mindanao on March 19, 2013 at a venue in Metro Manila. These projects are funded through the scheme of the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) implemented by the Embassy of Japan as part of the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Developmen t (J-BIRD).
The signing ceremony was attend ed by major stakeholders in the Mindanao peace process such as the OPAPP Secretary Teresita “Ging” Quintos-Deles , Executive Director of Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) Mohammad Shuaib Yacob, and Chair of Government Peace Negotiating Panel for Talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GPH-MILF) Miriam Coronel-Ferrer.
The new package of assistance , amounting to 885,204 US dollars or about 36 million pesos , will form part of Japan's commitment to peace and development efforts in Mindanao.
The package includes the construction of three school buildings; a post-harvest facility with agricultural equipment; an agricultural training center; a training center for Bangsamoro development ; a shelter home for women and children, and a hospital. The details of each project are provided in individual press releases .
Since its launching in 2006, Japan has already supported 66 grassroots projects in the total amount of 5 .5 m illion US dollars or about 285 m illion pesos.
Ambassador Urabe stated in his speech that t he signing of the Framework Agreement last October was a major progress in answering to the wish of children in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao, which was simply to live in peace . Ambassador described J-BIRDS's GGPs as building blocks of peace, saying “it is my sincere wish that these blocks will be a part of a solid house of peace in Bangsamoro.”
The Government of Japan continues to send to the International Monitoring Team (IMT) two s enior a dvisors to assist the r econstruction and d evelopment of conflict-affected areas in Mindanao. In addition, Japan is a member of the International Contact Group (ICG), which performs such roles as giving advice to the parties concerned on the Mindanao Peace Process and participating in peace talks as observers.