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Japan Funds Construction of Rural Health Unit in Mt. Province

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Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and Mayor Avelino Amangyen of the Municipality of Paracelis in Mt. Province signed the grant contract for “ The Project for the Construction of the Rural Health Unit of the Municipality of Paracelis ” on January 13, 2012 at the Embassy of Japan. The project, amounting to US$98,418 (approximately 4.3 million pesos), is funded through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects ( GGP ).

Paracelis is a second class municipality of Mt. Province with a population of around 25, 000 individuals as of 2010. Its population is mainly composed of indigenous people belonging to the Gaddang, Balangao and Kalinga tribes who subsist mainly in planting corn and rice. The municipality is 80 kilometers away or two hours travel from Santiago City in Isabela and around 60 kilometers away from Tabuk, Kalinga where private and government-run hospitals and clinics abound. Due to t he distance and the road condition, it is difficult and costly for residents in Paracelis to travel there. They have no choice but consult traditional healers or seek the medical service from the rural health unit (RHU) of the municipality.

However, the existing RHU is in dilapidated condition - ceilings are breaking off and there is always leaking from the roof , walls and floors also have cracks . Paracelis is one of the municipalities hardest hit by Typhoon Juan in 2009 which compounded the already miserable state of the RHU. Aside from these, the RHU does not have enough space for protecting privacy of patients when consulting doctors. Moreover, Paracelis shows a high incidence of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and pneumonia, but the RHU do not own treatment room for the diseases.

With the grant assistance, the Municipal Government of Paracelis will construct a new building for its RHU. The municipality will also purchase new sets of medical equipment by their own funds. These measures will improve and upgrade the delivery of medical and health services to its 25,000 residents.

The Government of Japan, as the top ODA donor for the Philippines, launched the GGP in the Philippines in 1989 for the purpose of reducing poverty and helping various communities engaged in grassroots activities. As of November 2011, 456 grassroots projects funded by GGP – ranging from roughly 1 to 4 million pesos – have been implemented by NGOs, local government units and other non-profit organizations. The total grant for these projects so far amounts to US$21,267,500. Japan believes that this project will not only strengthen friendship between the peoples of Japan and the Philippines but also the existing strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines.