- Mayor Balicao of Wao, Lanao del Sur
- Minister Sema of MOLE and Chair of the Project Advisory and Review Committee of the the ILO-Japan Project,
- His Excellency, Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines,
- Distinguished guests, partners, ladies and gentlemen, maayong buntag!
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates the vulnerabilities in conflict-sensitive areas. Lives and livelihoods affected by the pandemic are pushed deeper into poverty and inequality.
Today, we handover the biggest subproject of the ILO-Japan Water and Sanitation Project. Through this partnership, 69 water tap stands were constructed, and now distributed in communities, a birthing center, agricultural areas and schools.
Overall, the water system covers six (6) barangays/villages with a population of more than 10,000 people. All partners persevered and worked hard together to complete this water system amid these difficult times and challenges due to COVID-19.
The local government unit’s counterpart – the construction of the mother water tank and other contributions amounting to Php 3.9 million – is a clear sign of commitment and ownership. This is highly commendable.
Using local resource-based approaches, community members were mobilized, provided skills training and hired.
The implementing partner and community contractor ensured that decent work is provided to communities. Workers received wages and social protection benefits. COVID-19 responsive occupational safety and health (OSH) protocols were implemented in work sites to keep the workers safe and healthy at work.
Equal employment opportunity was promoted and sustainability discussed through social dialogue. All these contribute to supporting the Philippines in achieving the Decent Work Country Programme and building a better future of work as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The biggest challenge now is how to ensure the sustainability of the water project so that investments are not put to waste. We have full trust that Wao will take this challenge with enthusiasm as you have also invested great effort and resources in this project.
The ILO is inspired by Japan’s commitment to Mindanao, especially the Bangsamoro. We are grateful to Japan for giving us the opportunity to take part of Mindanao’s development through this water project that creates decent work, provides safe water and promotes peace.
More needs to be done and we thank the Government of Japan for the continued partnership.
Thank you to everyone for being with us to help build back better through decent work, safe water and lasting peace and development.