By ROY C. MABASA
Japanese government officials spearheaded the renewal of a water supply system and vocational school in two separate areas in southern Cotabato on Thursday as part of Japan’s support for peace and development in Mindanao.
Consul General Ishikawa Yoshihisa of the Consulate General of Japan in Davao, Vice Consul Mitsuhashi Rie and Third Secretary Yamada Yumi personally traveled to South Cotabato to witness the renewal of the Tier II water supply system in Barangay Kablon, Tupi Municipality, and the one-story building for the Technical Vocational Education and Training Center in Tampakan.
Construction of both projects was funded by Official Development Assistance (ODA) through the Human Security Grassroots Projects (GGP) grant. These are part of the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD).
Due to budgetary constraints, the installation of water supply systems has not yet been carried out in many areas where residents do not have access to safe and clean drinking water, according to the embassy of the country. Japan in Manila.
According to their study, the municipality of Tupi has one of the lowest drinking water access rates in the province. In fact, it takes up to two hours to fetch water on foot, and the water that locals have walked so long to fetch is not even drinkable.
As a result, around 10% of residents suffer from illnesses such as diarrhea and skin diseases each year, which can generally be attributed to drinking unsanitary water.
To solve this problem, Japan provided a grant in the amount of US$75,149 (approximately 4.0 million Philippine pesos) to the provincial government of South Cotabato, an amount that covered the construction of a water system level II in three sites in Barangay Kablon, Tupi.
Consul General ISHIKAWA, in his remarks, expressed the hope that the residents of the sites are now freed from the worries of contracting waterborne diseases as well as the physical burden and time spent fetching water from afar .
In Tampakan, South Cotabato, the municipality faces limited job training opportunities, as the unemployment rate was three times the national average in 2015.
In 2011, the municipal government opened a vocational training center to address the growing concern of unemployment. However, he could not effectively and efficiently conduct 10 types of vocational training courses that were offered since the center has only four training rooms.
Japan, through its embassy, provided a grant of US$80,485 (approximately 4.3 million Philippine pesos) to Tampakan LGU to cover the construction of a one-story training building and four classrooms.
Ishikawa praised the vocational training center management, trainers and trainees for their commitment to improving skills even during the pandemic.
The Japanese diplomat hopes Tampakan residents will take advantage of job training opportunities at the expanded training center to hone the technical skills needed to secure livelihood employment.
Japan is the top ODA donor to the Philippines. He started GGP in 1989 to alleviate poverty and help diverse communities engage in grassroots activities.