GRANT DEAL. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (left) and Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko seal their exchange of diplomatic notes with a handshake at the Department of Foreign Affairs office in Pasay City on Thursday (June 9, 2022). Japan will provide a JPY710 million (approximately PHP289.6 million) grant aid to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and the Philippine Coast Guard. (DFA photo by Philip Fernandez)

MANILA – Tokyo will provide a 710 million Japanese yen (approximately PHP289.6 million) grant aid to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Friday.

The grant was formalized during the exchange of notes between Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko on Thursday.

“Japan’s provision of medical equipment for 10 hospitals within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and 13 portable generators for the Philippine Coast Guard demonstrates Japan’s commitment to help uplift the lives of the Filipino people and enhance the country’s maritime enforcement capabilities," Locsin said in a statement.

Koshikawa said addressing the medical and socio-economic development needs in the BARMM region will extend the peace process promoted by the Philippine government “and which the Japanese government is happy to support”.

The Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) under the Economic and Social Development Programme for the BARMM is a provision of JPY500 million (approximately PHP204 million) worth of medical equipment for hospitals, including medical oxygen pipeline systems, dialysis machines, oxygen generating systems, medical waste autoclaves, and monitors and ventilators.

The BARMM beneficiary hospitals are Iranun District Hospital, Maguindanao Provincial Hospital, Sulu Provincial Hospital, Cotabato Regional Medical Center, Amai Pakpak Medical Center, Datu Blah Sinsuat Memorial Hospital, Tamparan District Hospital, Dr. Serapio Montaner Memorial Hospital, Datu Halun Sakilan Hospital, and Lamitan District Hospital.

The PCG, on the other hand, will receive 13 units of portable generators worth JPY210 million (approximately PHP85.67 million) to benefit coast guard district stations in BARMM, Metro Manila, Central Cebu, Northeastern Luzon, Pangasinan, El Nido, Davao, Southern and Southwestern Mindanao, Iloilo, Batangas, and Northern Mindanao.

The generators can support the shore power supply requirements of the country’s vessels, including 10 44-meter multi-role response vessels, procured and delivered under the partnership between Japan and the Philippines, according to DFA.

Japan is the Philippines’ top ODA partner, with its long history of support for Philippine development priorities spanning infrastructure, health, human resources, agriculture, education, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, among others. (PNA)