- Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. [Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process-OPAPP]
- Mr Jose Luis Fernandez [Representative, Food and Agriculture Organization-FAO]
- Mr Khalid Hassan [Representative, International Labour Organization-ILO]
- Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
- Good afternoon. Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.
Major events came about in the last few months demonstrating Japan’s unwavering support for our brothers in Mindanao. Japan hosted the Bangsamoro Forum with the United Nations last December. We also sent a plebiscite monitoring mission in January for the Bangsamoro Organic Law ratification. 3 weeks ago, Foreign Minister Taro Kono visited Davao to reiterate Japan’s commitment to the Philippines’ infrastructure program and the Mindanao peace process. Coinciding with this visit, we also exchanged notes on a road network project for conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.
With you, our partners, by our side, these projects we signed today will serve as follow-through instruments of peace to further make development felt by the people on the ground. I look forward to seeing more households in the Bangsamoro region gain better access to potable water, averting vulnerabilities to water-borne diseases caused by unsafe sources. Aside from making optimum use of these water infrastructure, I hope the beneficiaries will also find opportunities for decent work and better living conditions through this project with the ILO.
In the same way, my hope is that the farm schools to be organized by the FAO will help farmers, fishermen, as well as decommissioned combatants rebound from the ruins of conflict by acquiring up-to-date agricultural vocational know-how. Taking into account the importance of sustainable livelihood as a key pillar for the success of the peace process, I trust that these new set of knowledge and skills will be their tools of the trade to gain stable employment, efficiently operate farms or even set up their own businesses.
These two undertakings form part of the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development or J-BIRD aimed at enabling people and communities benefit from the dividends of peace. From 2006 to date, we have so far provided a total of about 13 billion pesos or 260 million US dollars’ worth of assistance to the Bangsamoro region.
I believe the present times have unlocked a pivotal moment for this region, particularly with the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. Together, let us all work to making the promise-filled Mindanao truly, as they say, the “land of fulfillment”.
Maraming salamat at mabuhay po kayo!