Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono (right) meets Al Haj Murad Ebrahim (left), chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for a bilateral meeting in Davao City on Sunday. Photo courtesy (KEITH BACONGCO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Ambassador Haneda: Japan will be major assistance donor in the implementation of BOL

Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao-  Japan would be a "major assistance donor" to the Philippines in the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), Koji Haneda, Japanese Ambassador to Philippines told reporters on the eve Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono’s officials visit to the country.

He said that Japan have already extended assistance to the BOL process and we hope that this would be a success, this is very important to Mindanao and the Philippines but it will give very positive impact in the region. 

"We have been and we are going to be a major assistance donor to the Philippines as far as the BOL is concerned," he added.

The Bangsamoro peace process is among the areas Kono and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. would be discussing in a bilateral meeting in Davao on Sunday, the envoy told reporters. 

But among others, the two envoy would also discuss Japan's "economic assistance on various projects" including on infrastructure, PNA said in its report.

In a recent interview, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Senior Representative Yo Ebisawa said Tokyo's support to the peace process in Mindanao "was there" even before the approval of the BOL in July 2018.

On its implementation, Ebisawa told reporters that Tokyo would fund projects for the reintegration of ex-combatants into the society and the new autonomous political entity that will be established in 2022. 

The results of the January 21st plebiscite in the ARMM, Cotabato and Isabela City has been proclaimed and ratified by COMELEC. Only in Isabela City where the No vote won, hence will not become part of the new region Bangsamoro.

On February 6, the 2nd phase of plebiscite for ratification of BOL was also conducted in villages in North Cotabato that petitioned for inclusion into the BARMM, and in six municipalities in Lanao Del Norte.

63 villages in North Cotabato opted to join the Bangsamoro due to the support of provincial and municipal officials, while Lanao Del Norte voting as a whole rejected the BOL.

The Dimaporo clan of Lanao del Norte led residents in the campaign against the ratification of the law in the province. (Source: PNA)