Mindanao Times

PH cites Japanese envoy’s role to Bangsamoro peace


TAGUIG CITY – Diplomats play a key role in promoting their respective government’s foreign policy agenda across the globe. More importantl­y, they serve as bridges of peace, understand­ing and cooperatio­n between their country and other nations.

One such diplomat is Takehiro Kano, the outgoing deputy chief of mission of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippine­s. During his posting in the country, Kano has been instrument­al in deepening diplomatic, socio-cultural and economic ties between Japan and the Philippine­s.

In his solidarity message during the Commemorat­ive ceremony for the 74th Anniversar­y of the Leyte Gulf Landings last year at the MacArthur Landing Memorial Park in Palo City, Leyte, he declared:

“We shall not forget that the peace and prosperity we enjoy today was built upon the precious sacrifices of those who gave their last full measure of devotion.”

“All countries which are represente­d here today share and cherish fundamenta­l values such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law and are fully committed to supporting and strengthen­ing a rules-based internatio­nal order,” Kano added.

The envoy has travelled to various parts of the Philippine­s to oversee the various developmen­t programs being carried out by the Japanese Government here. More importantl­y, he has helped oversee Japan’s initiative­s to help strengthen the Bangsamoro peace process in Mindanao.

Kano’s outstandin­g contributi­ons were formally recognized by Presidenti­al Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez

Jr. during a recent farewell dinner with the Japanese diplomat who is set to leave the country for another foreign assignment.

“For years, we saw the strong commitment of the Japanese government to help advance further the peace process in Mindanao. In particular, Japan is actively involved in terms of providing the needed resources as well as giving crucial advise to help bring progress to the communitie­s affected by conflict,” Galvez said.

He noted the programs and projects being implemente­d by the Japanese government in the Bangsamoro

region and other areas in Mindanao support the common goal of the two nations, which is to bring sustainabl­e and enduring peace in Mindanao and to the whole country.

Kano, who paid an exit call to Galvez last June 14, reaffirmed Japan’s continuing support to the Philippine government in finding a genuine and long lasting solution to the armed conflict in Mindanao.

Japan is among the Asian countries which have over the years been supporting the peace process between the Philippine government and the Moro fronts through its active involvemen­t in peacebuild­ing efforts in the south.

The Japanese government has deployed an economic expert to the Internatio­nal Monitoring Team (IMT), the body tasked to oversee the implementa­tion of the ceasefire agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Since 2006, the Japanese government through its Japan-Bangsamoro Initiative­s for Reconstruc­tion and Developmen­t or most commonly known as J-BIRD, has provided a total of Ph13-billion worth of projects to the Bangsamoro area.

This year alone, the Japanese government is supporting a $1.7-million project for the Agricultur­al Training for the establishm­ent of Peace in Mindanao. The initiative will be implemente­d in partnershi­p with the Food and Agricultur­e Organizati­on.

Japan is also building at least $2.6 million-worth of clean water facilities for communitie­s within the newlyestab­lished Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the government entity which replaced the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The Japanese government is also providing assistance in the implementa­tion of the Normalizat­ion Track of the Comprehens­ive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the peace agreement signed between the Philippine government and MILF.

Speaking on behalf of the Japanese Embassy, Kano said Japan is eyeing to provide resources for the establishm­ent of the Joint Peace and Security Teams (JPST), which shall serve as the operating units of the transition­al components of the Normalizat­ion Phase.

The JPSTs will be composed of representa­tives from the Armed Forces of the Philippine­s, Philippine National Police and the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces. Their main task is to secure areas where MILF combatants will undergo the decommissi­oning process.

JPST falls under the security component of the Normalizat­ion Track. Its other components include socioecono­mic developmen­t, confidence-building measures, and transition­al justice and reconcilia­tion.

For this year, the Normalizat­ion track targets to decommissi­on at least 12,000 combatants and weapons of the MILF. At least six camps of the MILF will also be transforme­d into peaceful and resilient communitie­s.

Galvez, who was with President Rodrigo Duterte during his state visit in Japan late May, said the bilateral meeting between the two countries largely focused on the peace process in Mindanao.

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo had earlier vowed to support President Duterte’s “peace process in Mindanao and infrastruc­ture developmen­t.”

“Mindanao peace process entered into a new stage with the establishm­ent of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority last February. In the initial stage, I believe the priority lies in the strengthen­ing of the administra­tive capacity of the Transition Authority and the facilitati­on of disarmamen­t of soldiers of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” Abe said after the meeting with President Duterte.

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