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Japan Envoy Assures Support For BARMM Peace Initiatives

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Japan Envoy Assures Support For BARMM Peace Initiatives

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Japan will continue to aid the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) through peace initiatives, capacity building, and development projects.

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Endo Kazuya made the assurance to BARMM officials following his visit on Tuesday here to convey Japan’s full support to the nearly five-year-old expanded region.

Kazuya and his delegation paid a courtesy visit to the BARMM parliament and were warmly welcomed by Parliament Speaker Pangalian Balindong.

“The Japan delegation’s visit was aimed at showing support for the Bangsamoro region’s ongoing peace and development efforts,” Kazuya said in a statement released Wednesday.

During the meeting, Speaker Balindong, a lawyer, highlighted the parliament’s accomplishments and the upcoming first parliamentary elections.

Ambassador Kazuya, accompanied by a delegation from the Embassy of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), discussed the issue with members of the parliament.

They exchanged views on the progress of the peace process.

Kazuya expressed Japan’s appreciation for the progress achieved in the region and reiterated his country’s commitment to supporting Bangsamoro’s journey towards peace and sustainable development.

On the other hand, the BARMM parliament welcomed Japan’s continued support and expressed gratitude for its ongoing sponsored programs that have contributed to regional progress.

“BARMM is grateful to Japan, and we acknowledge JICA for its contributions, technical expertise, capacity-building initiatives, and various development projects that have benefited our people,” Balindong told Kazuya and his delegation.

Kazuya’s visit came a week after his government approved US5.5 million dollars, or about PHP323.19 million, in grants to improve access to birth registration for Sama Bajaus and other marginalized sectors in the region.

On Tuesday, Ambassador Kazuya and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Philippines Head Maria Ermina Valdeavilla-Gallardo also signed the exchange of notes for the 30-month initiative.

BARMM covers the provinces of Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi; the cities of Lamitan, Cotabato, and Marawi; and the 63 villages under the region’s Special Geographic Area in North Cotabato. (PNA)