Japanese government builds learning and training buildings in Mindanao
THE government of Japan recently handed over several classrooms to Mindanao to address the issues of classroom disruption and unemployment.
Consul General Yoshihisa Ishikawa of the Japanese Consulate General in Davao, Vice Consul Rie Mitsuhashi and Third Secretary Yumi Yamada of the Japanese Embassy attended the handover ceremony in Tampakan, South Cotabato, in mid -July for “The construction project of a -Story Building for Technical Vocational Education and Training Center in Tampakan, South Cotabato.”
Approved in 2018, the project is part of Japan’s official development assistance (ODA) through the Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots Human Security Projects (GGP). It is also part of the Embassy and Consulate General’s efforts to support peace and development in Mindanao under the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) program.
Against the backdrop of the limited job training opportunities available in the municipality, Tampakan’s unemployment rate was three times the national average in 2015. The city government opened a job training center in 2011 to address the concern, as shared by the Embassy of Japan. However, since the center has only four training rooms, it could not effectively and efficiently organize the 10 types of vocational training courses that were offered.
To address this problem, the embassy provided a grant of $80,485, or about 4.3 million pesos, to the municipal government of Tampakan. The grant covered the construction of a one-storey training building and four classrooms.
In his message at the ceremony, Ishikawa cited the vocational training center management, trainers and trainees for their commitment to honing their skills even during the pandemic.
He further expressed his hope that Tampakan residents will take advantage of job training opportunities at the expanded training center to hone the technical skills necessary for employment and improving their livelihoods.
Before the end of the month, the three Japanese officials attended a graduation ceremony in the town of Kidapawan, Cotabato for “The Sto. Niño Elementary School.
The project was approved in 2019, part of Japan’s ODA also funded through GGP. It is also part of similar deputation efforts under J-BIRD.
The Embassy shared that Sto. Niño Elementary School is a public elementary school established in 1957. Over time and with the impacts of earthquakes, its classrooms have suffered damage, making them unsafe and susceptible to demolition.
Similarly, the school often suspends classes due to rainwater intrusion through ceilings and windows. It even holds classes in a multi-purpose hall due to the lack of classrooms.
For this, the embassy provided a grant of 183,563 dollars, or about 9.4 million pesos to Kidapawan City. The grant covered the construction of a two-storey school building with four classrooms.
In his post, Ishikawa expressed his joy at seeing the students return to Sto. Niño Elementary School after two years of learning from home, as he praised teachers and students for their perseverance during this most difficult time. He further hopes that the new classrooms will provide better learning experiences for students at Sto. Niño Elementary School.
Mayor Jose Paolo Evangelista of Kidapawan City, Director Carlito Rocafort of Region 12 Department of Education, other local government officials, parents, teachers and students also graced the event.
As the largest ODA donor to the Philippines, the Japanese government launched the GGP program in the Philippines in 1989 to alleviate poverty and help various communities engage in basic activities. Currently, 553 local projects have been completed.
The embassy is confident that these projects will strengthen the friendship between Japan and the Philippines and help maintain their strategic ties.