Second Secretary Takuhiro Watanabe attended the turnover ceremony February 4, 2016 for “The Project for the Acquisition of Two (2) Units of Light Hauling Vehicles” in the Municipality of Molave, Zamboanga del Sur. This is part of the Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP).
The ceremony was attended by Mr. Arthur A. Quilalang, Chairperson of Rizal Molave Multi-purpose Cooperative (RIMMPCO) and other members of the organization. It was also attended by the Deputy Head of Mission of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), First Admiral Dato Khairuddin Bin Mohd Arif RMN and officials from the Local Government Unit (LGU), represented by Mayor Ireneo Glepa and Vice Mayor Roberto Lacuaren.
In FY2014, under J-BIRD (※), the Embassy of Japan (EOJ) provided assistance to RIMMPCO amounting to Sixty Five Thousand Three Hundred Thirty Three US Dollars (USD 65,333) or approximately Php 2.74 million. The grant was used for the procurement of two (2) units of light hauling vehicles.
The Municipality of Molave is mainly dependent on its agriculture sector. In fact, 20,000 hectares or almost 90% of their land is devoted to agriculture. However, given the large volume of rice production, the farmers have no cheaper way of transporting their produce from the farm to the storage area or to the market.
The two (2) units of hauling trucks are expected to be used in transporting large volume of rice at a lower cost and will be able to help farmers save up to 50% if their usual expenses in hauling services. In addition, Japan believes that this project will not only strengthen the friendship between the people of Japan and the Philippines but also continue to further foster a strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines towards the future.
The Government of Japan, as the top ODA donor for the Philippines, launched the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects in the Philippines in 1989 for the purpose of reducing poverty and helping various communities engaged in grassroots activities. As of present, 512 grassroots projects have been funded by GGP.
(※) Since 2006, Japan has been intensively implementing Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects and other ODA projects for confict affected areas in Mindanao, collectively called J-BIRD (Japan-Bangsamoro Initiative for Reconstruction and Develpoment). Their total amount is over 15 billion yen. Furthermore, when President Aquino made a state visit to Japan last June, Japanese Prime Minister, Mr.Shinzo Abe, expressed at their summit meeting his support for efforts by the Government of the Philippines to secure enduring peace in Mindanao, and stated that the Government of Japan will promote the J-BIRD II (Note), in view of the establishment of a new autonomous political entity.
(Note: A new phase of the J-BIRD that will focus more on ensuring economic autonomy in the Bangsamoro Area.)