Message at the handover of the water system built in Looy under the ILO-Japan Water and Sanitation Project

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the handover of the water system built in Looy under the ILO-Japan Water and Sanitation Project, 21 June 2021, Maguindanao, Philippines

Déclaration | Looy, South Upi, Maguindanao Philippines | 21 juin 2021
  • Senior Minister and concurrent MENRE Minister Abdulraof Macacua
  • Minister Romeo K. Sema of MOLE and Chair of the ILO-Japan Project Advisory and Review Committee,
  • Minister Melanio Ulama of MIPA-BARMM
  • Mayor Reynalbert Insular of South Upi, Maguindanao,
  • Chargé d'Affaires Nakata Masahiro of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines,
  • Mr Danilo Rosarial, President of the KLWA,
  • Executive Director Windel Diangcalan of BDA
  • Workers, indigenous leaders and partners from the community,
  • Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga!
My visit to Barangay Looy before the pandemic was truly memorable. Smiles of children, local leaders and officials of this village greeted me.

I saw the perseverance and eagerness of community members. Most of them are Tedurays, an indigenous group which consists 75 per cent of the population of your barangay.

Unfortunately, indigenous peoples were among the groups affected by COVID-19. The pandemic caused massive impact on incomes and livelihoods of the indigenous peoples. It has shown the vulnerabilities as most of them are in the informal sector, without access to financial assets, properties as well as social protection.

The Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169) puts forward a rights-based approach. It respects traditions and cultures of indigenous peoples, and their way of life. It recognizes their right to land and natural resources.

ILO ensures that fundamental principles and rights at work, working conditions and livelihoods of indigenous men and women are promoted as an integral part of inclusive and sustainable development.

By building skills and generating jobs and income, this project will strengthen resilience and support local economies while generating green jobs and protecting biodiversity.

Locally, we have seen that KLWA members have defined their own developmental priorities when the community-based organization presented the vision on how they will work together and make this project come to reality.

Without access to safe and clean water, the school representatives, farmers, women, indigenous peoples, have come together to plan and voice out their ideas. Their voices were heard, not only as beneficiaries, but also as partners of this project. The fundamental principles of consultation and participation was adopted.

And so today, marks another milestone for the ILO-Japan Water and Sanitation Project. With the funding support from the People of Japan, we are turning over one of the biggest employment-intensive investments among our water project sites.

We have brought water closer to almost 500 households from a water source estimated to be 7 kilometres away. In total, a 9-kilometre piping system had been constructed.

We are also happy to know that 1169 students in 2 schools will now have safe and clean water for drinking and washing anytime of the day. Teachers will not be burdened given consistent water access that will be enjoyed by everyone.

Through decent work, the project engaged 250 workers from the community. About 80 per cent of them were indigenous peoples. They received not only their wages but also social protection benefits. We also promoted equal pay and opportunity, and engaged 75 women workers.

At the worksite, COVID 19 protocols were implemented to ensure that all workers are healthy and safe. Complete personal protective equipment and appropriate tools were provided.

Green works were also ensured by applying filtration in tap stands, preventing erosion by planting shrubs and grasses to bury water pipes, and planting trees to protect the spring as the water source, which will be done today.

Completing this project over the last seven months amid COVID-19 is not an easy task. Thus, we commend those who played crucial role in establishing this first big water construction in the barangay. KLWA- the community-contractor for their patience in learning the financial, technical and the social requirements of the project. The barangay and municipal local government for addressing implementation issues at once and providing resources when necessary; and the Bangsamoro Development Agency for their over-all management of the project onsite.

We have not only constructed a water system. Together, we built a stronger, more resilient community as we build back better and recover from COVID-19 through a human-centred approach.

This is not the end of our engagement, but the beginning of meaningful partnership as we ensure the sustainability of our water system to benefit generations ahead.

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.

Again, let me extend my big congratulations to everyone. Fetaus tom! (Teduray word for Let’s carry on/ continue work)

Maraming salamat po (Thank you very much)!