Friday, March 18, 2016

BTC Chair thankful for Japan’s commitment to support peace process

From the Website of MILF

BTC Chair thankful for Japan’s commitment to support peace process

Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Chairman Mohagher Iqbal expressed gratitude to the Japanese Government for its commitment to support the Government of the Philippines (GPH)-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace process despite the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)
“We are grateful to Japan for its support to the GPH-MILF peace process,” Iqbal told Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazhuhide Ishikawa last Monday (Mar 14) night during the latter’s visit to the BTC office in Cotabato City.

Ishikawa, together with fellow Japanese embassy officials was in Cotabato City on Monday for a Grant Contract Signing with five local organizations that will implement projects as part of part of the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD).

The Japanese envoy reiterated Japan’s commitment to continue supporting the peace process.

Chairman Iqbal said BTC is privileged and honored with the visit of the Japanese diplomats. “This sends a strong message that the partnership we have built throughout the years will continue and live on, with or without BBL,” he said.

The BBL, which the Philippine Congress failed to pass, is a proposed law drafted by the BTC that is hoped to bring sustainable peace and development in Mindanao.

In his message, the BTC chair described the Japanese government as a “close friend” and supporter to the peace process.

“The presence of Japanese Government through participation in major peace mechanisms and even to the extent of granting aid in support of the peace process, has made a great impact to lead us into reaching milestones,” the BTC head disclosed.

The Japanese Embassy expanded grassroots assistance program to MILF areas and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) started a community development project supporting peace and stability in Mindanao in 2006 according to Chairman Iqbal.

He said the project together with previous projects in Mindanao was labelled J-BIRD.

“This was a rare case of Japan entering a conflict-affected region before a peace agreement was reached,” he said.
Chairman Iqbal related that in 2006, Japan joined the International Monitoring Team that was established in 2004 to monitor the implementation of the 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two parties.

Japan dispatched an expert in socioeconomic development to join the peace monitors. The BTC Chair said Japan’s actual projects and programs for socioeconomic development helped facilitate peace negotiations.

He related further that Japan became member of the International Contact Group, an international body that observes the negotiation and ensures the implementation of mutually agreed accords.

Chairman Iqbal also recalled the effort of when the Japanese Government for the peace process when it facilitated the meeting between President Aquino and MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in August 2011 at a hotel near Narita Airport in Japan.

Currently, JICA is implementing the project called “Comprehensive Capacity Development Project for Bangsamoro (CCDP-B) with the BTC as its counterpart agency from 2013 to 2016.

MILF Website

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