The Japanese government is providing a $202-million loan to build roads in Mindanao that will help revitalize economic activities and improve access to social services in conflict areas.
It is funding a detailed design study that will cover two sub-projects of the Road Network Development Project in Conflict Affected Areas in Mindanao, including Matanog-Barira-Alamada-Libungan Road and Tapian Lebak Coastal Road.
The Department of Public Works and Highways said the Japan International Cooperation Agency agreed to provide a $202.04-million official development loan for the detailed design and construction/ improvement of four other sub-projects under RNDP-CAAM: Parang Balabagan Road, Marawi City Ring Road, Parang East Diversion Road, and Manuangan Parang Road.
The JICA-DPWH road project is part of JICA’s support to peace-building through infrastructure development in Mindanao.
Government data in 2015 showed that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao was the poorest region in the Philippines with 53-percent poverty incidence.
The armed conflict also affected the region’s connectivity with ARMM’s road density at 0.10, lower than the average in Mindanao.
“Through the road network project, people from conflict-affected areas will have links to markets, public facilities, and improve agribusiness potential of their place,” JICA senior representative Kiyo Kawabuchi said.
“Building roads in remote, conflict-affected communities will help bridge the economic gap in the region and help consolidate peace,” Kawabuchi said. Darwin G. Amojelar
The Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 underscores regional connectivity through infrastructure development, including expanding road systems and upgrading or rehabilitating roads, as among its priorities.
JICA works towards peace and development in Mindanao as one of its key assistance pillars in the Philippines. JICA has been supporting projects in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao for more than two decades.
JICA has been implementing peace-building initiatives in Mindanao under the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiative for Reconstruction and Development and other development cooperation including building socio-economic infrastructure, and supporting good governance, livelihood and industry development since 2006.