Japan, UNDP to promote food security, economic growth in Bangsamoro

MANILA – The Government of Japan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-Philippines have partnered to promote food security and economic empowerment in the Bangsamoro region's Special Geographic Area (SGA).

As part of the project “Enhancing Food Security and Livelihood in Bangsamoro”, this collaboration sought to provide food security and livelihood assistance to conflict-affected, marginalized, and underserved Bangsamoro communities within and outside the core territory of the Bangsamoro region.

“On a larger scale the collaboration, fosters peacebuilding and sustainable development in communities affected by conflict,” stated in a news release on Wednesday.

In 2023, with support from Japan, UNDP facilitated peaceful resolutions in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) community in Zamboanga del Norte's Pigcawayan cluster.

After a community dialogue, the Sirawai local government repaired a damaged mosque, thanks to the “bayanihan” effort involving local authorities, security forces, and community members.

Japan's backing also supported the UNDP to provide 7,000 oil palm seedlings to the MILF community, supporting the establishment of a 50-hectare plantation.

This initiative boosts local economies by creating long-term livelihood opportunities for former MILF combatants and their families. Japan's contribution extends to technical guidance through the Sirawai Plywood and Lumber Corporation (SPLC), ensuring proper farm techniques and market security for future harvests.

The assistance by the Government of Japan, in collaboration with the UNDP Philippines, not only reduced tensions within the community but also created a new long-

Assistance for Pigcawayan

The Japan embassy through the UNDP also provided food and livelihood assistance to communities in Pigcawayan, Cotabato.

These include the turnover of a fish truck and 50 ice boxes to the Datu Mantil Makangguna Association, the installation of a solar-powered ice block-making machine in Barangay Datu Binasing and distribution of food assistance to the Datu Mantil Makangguna women’s association and their families in Barangay Datu Mantil.

These projects form part of the "Enhancing Food Security and Livelihood in Bangsamoro" – a collaborative initiative between the Government of Japan and UNDP Philippines. These aim to ensure food security, enhance supply chain, and improve livelihood for sustaining peacebuilding and recovery efforts in the Bangsamoro region.

Together with this recent initiative, Japan has been contributing to the Mindanao Peace Process for more than two decades. Several projects have been undertaken under the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD), which aims to enable the people and the communities in target areas to enjoy the “dividends of peace” through Japanese ODA.

Japan remains steadfast in its commitment in supporting the progress of the Peace Process and in furthering development in Mindanao. (PR)