Japan-Funded Hospital and its Access Road in ARMM Inaugurated

With ARMM (Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao) Executive Secretary Atty. Naguib G. Sinarimbo, Mr. Tomonori Kikuchi, First Secretary of the Embassy of Japan, attended the turnover ceremony of the Dr. Serapio B. Montaner Memorial Hospital and its Access Road in Malabang, Lanao del Sur Province, on July 28, 2010.

The project to improve the quality of medical services and facilities of the Dr. Serapio B. Montaner Memorial Hospital was funded by Japan through the ARMM Social Fund for Peace and Development, amounting to 14.5 Million Pesos. The project has strengthened the function of the hospital as a secondary/district hospital in the region through the repair and renovation of the main hospital building to provide healthier and friendlier accommodation for patients and staff, and also through the repair and expansion of its water supply system to improve the hygiene and sanitation of the hospital.

In addition, the project to newly construct an access road to the Dr. Serapio B. Montaner Memorial Hospital was also funded by Japan through the ARMM Social Fund, amounting to 7.36 Million Pesos. The constructed road (582 meter concrete road) is the only access road from Narciso Ramos National Highway to the hospital. Thus, this access road will maximize the utilization of the care and services of the hospital through safe and easy access of patients to the hospital.

The improved hospital and newly constructed access road will cater to the health care needs of approximately 107,000 individuals in 17,000 households, including about 15,000 children aged 0-5 years old and 27,000 women of reproductive age, in the following five (5) municipalities in Lanao del Sur Province: Balabagan, Kapatagan, Malabang, Marogong, and Picong.

First Secretary Kikuchi mentioned in his speech at the turnover ceremony, “the Government of Japan sincerely hopes that these assistance projects will provide positive impacts in terms of better health facilities and improved public health and safety. Today’s turnover of the two projects attests Japan’s continued commitment to supporting the improvement of human basic needs of the people in ARMM even under the new Aquino administration.”

The ARMM Social Fund was launched in April 2004, co-financed by Japan and the World Bank. Japan’s contribution to the fund in the form of the loan aid amounts to approximately 1.3 Billion Pesos (2.47 Billion Yen). Under the fund, various infrastructure projects have been implemented such as construction of multi-purpose centers, water-supply facilities/tanks, warehouses, schools, and roads.

The Government of Japan has been implementing “Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development” or “J-BIRD” designed to contribute to the peace process and development in the conflict-affected areas in Mindanao and the surrounding areas in the ARMM through its economic cooperation. The project to improve the Dr. Serapio B. Montaner Memorial Hospital and the project to construct its access road, which have been implemented under the ARMM Social Fund, are considered to be part of the J-BIRD projects, and exemplify Japan’s active role in the reconstruction and development in Mindanao.

Japan has been the top ODA donor to the Philippines for many years. The assistance through the ARMM Social Fund will firmly continue to support the Philippine Government to reduce poverty and improve its economic structure in ARMM, and will further enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries. –end-