SOLAR POWER. Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda delivers his remarks after the signing of documents and exchange of notes with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) held at the Japan Embassy in Manila on Monday (Feb. 24, 2020). Japan is partnering with the IOM to strengthen the health care services in BARMM through the provision of solar power generation systems. (PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

Japan provides $2.12-M aid for solar power generation systems in Bangsamoro

Cotabato City– The Japanese government is providing at least USD2.12 million for the provision of solar power generation systems in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), said a report by Philippine News Agency (PNA) Tuesday, February 24.

The "Project for the Capacity Building of Bangsamoro Transition Authority for Strengthening Health Care Services in Remote Islands", an initiative focused on Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, will be implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and is seen to help health facilities in the provinces reduce daytime electricity costs as well as running costs incurred in the use of diesel-fueled generators, the PNA report said.

Japanese Ambassador Koji Haneda, and Kristin Marie Dadey, Chief of Mission of IOM signed on Monday the exchange of notes at the Japanese Embassy in Manila, the PNA report also said.

The PNA report said that, Dadey thanked Tokyo for the assistance, saying the project would contribute to promoting peace and prosperity in the region as she cited the “hundreds of thousands of Moros” who have been migrating for decades to escape conflict and poverty.

"This action provides critical material support to Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, and sends a strong message of solidarity with those vulnerable communities, who often feel marginalized or forgotten, and decide to resort to extreme actions or undertake the risks of unsafe migration out of despair," she said in her speech.

Haneda, for his part, is hopeful the project would spur productivity, social cohesion, and access to health among the residents of the three provinces.

“For all the time Japan successfully carried out our official development assistance, we recognize that there’s only so much we can do on our own. Hence, we seek close coordination with partner countries and organizations that have first-hand knowledge and expertise on the ground,” he said, referring to the IOM and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Aside from the IOM-Japan partnership, Haneda and the UNFPA on Monday also signed the exchange of notes for a USD1.35-million project that will support transition and peacebuilding efforts in BARMM.

"The Bangsamoro Region was created by virtue of the passage of Republic Act No. 11054, or the Organic Law for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

It covers the former territory of defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), 63 villages in North Cotabato, and Cotabato City which opted to join the region during a plebiscite held early last year.