June 5, 2012 News: The Government of Japan through its Embassy in Manila will turn over the training center it built for the Moro grassroots recipients in Mindanao on June 7, 2012.
The ceremony will officially start at 2:00 pm, not 11:00 am as earlier announced, and will be expected to end at around 3:30 pm.
The turnover ceremony will start with a ribbon cutting and unveiling of the marker by Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Toshinao Urabe, and to be assisted by the Executive Director of the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI), Dr. Tomanda Antok.
Like the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), the BLMI was the product of negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The BLMI was created during the 14th Exploratory Talks held in Kuala Lumpur on November 14-15, 2007. The chair of the GPH peace panel then was Secretary Rodolfo Garcia, who is considered by friends as more diplomat than a military man.
All in all, the GPH had granted six million pesos, P1 million during the time of Garcia and the five million during Leonen’s stint as GPH chief negotiator. The Asia Foundation, the Development Academy of the Philippines, the Asia Institute of Management, and the Non-Violent Peaceforce also extended help by funding or conducting various skills and capacity-building trainings.
The BLMI’s building, worth more than four million pesos, stands on a half-hectare lot situated near the Cotabato-Davao National Highway in Crossing Simuay, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.
Also invited to the turnover ceremony are GPH Peace Panel Chairman Dean Marvic Leonen, the current Malaysian facilitator, His Excellency Dato’ Tengku AB’ Ghafar bin Tengku Mohamed, members of the International Contact Group (ICG), members of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), the five provincial governors in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the mayor of the municipality of Sultan Kudarat, some non-government organizations, and members of the media.
Through Chairman Marvic Leonen, the MILF Peace Panel also extended invitation to Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and two Filipino senators, one of whom is Senator Teofisto Guingona III.
A simple program will follow: a welcome address by Dr. Tomanda Antok, a speech by Ambassador Urabe, a message of appreciation and acceptance by both MILF and GPH peace panel chairmen, Mohagher Iqbal and Marvic Leonen, respectively, an inspirational m message by the Malaysian facilitator, Dato Tengku AB’ Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, and a closing remarks by Sheikh Mohammad Shuwaib Ya’cob, Executive Director of the BDA.