Japan allots P30.5-M humanitarian aid in Southwestern Mindanao

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNew/12 February) —  The Japanese government has allotted $700,000 (roughly P30.5 million) for humanitarian aid in conflict-affected areas in Southwestern Mindanao.

Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura said Japan coursed the fund to the International Emergency Food Reserve (IEFR), a project managed by the United Nations World Food Programme-Philippines (WFP).

WFP has been implementing the project titled “Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons, Returnees and other Food-insecure Households in Conflict-affected Areas in Southwestern Mindanao.”

“The Government of Japan earmarks its contribution to IEFR in consideration of relevant elements including request for assistance and bilateral relationship with a recipient county,” Katsura said in a statement.

The IEFR is a fund for humanitarian aid and is being managed by the WFP.

Japan is one of the top foreign donors to the Official Development Fund in the Philippines and is a member of the International Monitoring Team which monitors the implementation of the general ceasefire agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Japan has fielded a development expert in the IMT.

The Japanese government has been supporting the return and resettlement of IDPs to their places of origin. In 2006, the government of Japan provided an emergency food aid amounting to approximately $2.8 million for IDPs in the conflict-affected areas in the Southern Philippines through the WFP.

In 2009, the Japanese government extended another emergency grant aid for conflict affected areas in Mindanao worth approximately $9.5 million, also through the WFP.

In a statement, the Japanese embassy said that continued assistance is needed for these conflict- affected areas in line with the growing shift of support from relief to recovery assistance.

Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao comprises the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat and the cities of Kidapawan, Cotabato, General Santos, Koronadal and Tacurong.

It added that the  latest funding support would facilitate the necessary aid to meet the food gaps in support of the most food- insecure and vulnerable conflict-affected people in Southwestern Mindanao.

Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao comprises the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat and the cities of Kidapawan, Cotabato, General Santos, Koronadal and Tacurong.

Katsura said that Japan believes this latest assistance complements the Philippine Government’s efforts to preserve and strengthen the human assets and livelihoods “that are the foundation of future stability and development in Mindanao.”

The assistance reaffirms Japan ’s continuous support to the on-going peace-building and rehabilitation efforts in Mindanao, as a strategic partner of the Philippines, the official added. (Bong Sarmiento/MindaNews)

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