Japan to extend tech assistance for Bangsamoro formationBy Michelle V. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The Japanese government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, has agreed to take on a major role in helping form the Bangsamoro government that is hoped to bring sustainable peace and development in Mindanao and is targeted to be operational by 2016.
In a press conference Tuesday, JICA officials said the Japanese government-funded institution shall extend technical assistance to concerned people in Mindanao to help prepare them for 2016.
Cristina Santiago, senior program officer at JICA, said the technical assistance shall run for three years. Signing of the technical assistance agreement will be held on Thursday.
JICA shall be represented by Takahiro Sasaki, chief representative to the Philippines. The Bangsamoro people shall be represented by Mohagher Iqbal, chair of the Transition Commission for the establishment of the Bangsamoro government.
The technical assistance, valued at $7 million (about P300 million), covers the formulation of medium- and long-term development plans for Mindanao. The assistance shall come in the form of a grant.
The assistance likewise includes training of concerned people in Mindanao on areas of public administration, public budgeting and finance, management, and details of a parliamentary form of government.
Chikaraishi Juro, senior advisor at JICA, said in the press conference that people in charge of forming the Bangsamoro government prefer having a parliamentary system in the belief such will be effective in instituting needed security, social, and economic programs in the South.
“They want a parliamentary system of government. They want their system of government different from that of the central government. But since there is no one in the Philippines that can teach about the parliamentary system, they [Bangsamoro people] need help from outside,” Juro said.
The establishment of the Bangsamoro government will come following the signing in October 2012 of the peace agreement between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The framework for the agreement calls for the establishment of the Bangsamoro government, which shall replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao.
Yusuke Mori, a JICA representative, said in the same conference that the extension of the technical assistance is consistent with JICA’s overall policy of helping achieve peace and development of Mindanao.
“Peace and development in Mindanao is one of our key pillars for the Philippines,” Mori said.
The latest annual report of JICA showed that in 2011, its loans to the Philippines amounted to $682.63 million dollars in 2011, while grants reached $32.76 million in 2011.