Japan envoy turns-over P28M ‘friendship’ building to ARMM PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 26 August 2011 14:57

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe turned over last week the Japan-funded P28.8-million friendship hall and training center to the management of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, calling it as an edifice that will tighten his nation’s link with the Filipinos and help capacitate workforces in ARMM.

The ARMM information bureau said the ambassador expressed elation over the present ARMM officials’ warm reception of the interventions of his government, particularly the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the fields of peace-building, human resource enhancement and infrastructure development.

Urabe assisted the Acting ARMM Governor Ansaruddin Alonto-Adiong in the ceremonial ribbon cutting, marking the opening and turnover of the Japan-Muslim Mindanao two-storey “Friendship Hall and Training Center”, which is built inside the ARMM compound in Cotabato City.
Ambassador Urabe said the building is part of his government’s assistance to the people of ARMM towards gaining peace and prosperity in the region.

“This will help you train eligible, competent administrators to effectively govern ARMM towards peace and prosperity,” Urabe said citing that governing is hard because it involves listening to the diverse views of the people and encouraging their assistance towards attaining a common goal.

Urabe also thanked the ARMM people for their sympathy and support to the Japanese people during their ordeal after the unfortunate earthquake and tsunami last March 11, 2011.

On his part Adiong accepted the gift with “pleasure and gratitude that I receive this gift from the Japanese people as a symbol of the solid friendship and cooperation between the Bangsamoro people and the people of Japan.”

“Let me also assure you that this will be maximized for its noble purpose,” he assured the Japanese officials present. Ambassador Urabe was also accompanied by other Japanese officials led by Minister for Political Affairs Keisho Takewaka.

ARMM Executive Secretary Atty. Naguib Sinarimbo also expressed gratitude and pleasure during the turn-over citing that the landmark building signifies the enduring friendship between ARMM and Japan.

“As we open this building today, we also open the hope for peace and development for ARMM as we can now train highly competent people for us to ultimately attain peace and development,” he said.

The JICA approved the building’s P28.8-million allocation on October 8, 2009 but construction works commenced in 2010 due to the disruptive effects of the Maguindanao massacre that had created a major overhaul in the ARMM’s top leadership, engineering officials said.

The building, fully completed early this month, is equipped with office spaces, function halls and training equipment, and other facilities of international standard, they said.

It will house among others the ARMM development Academy (ADA), a regional counterpart of the Development Academy of the Philippines.

Sinarimbo announced that a series of trainings of administrative and technical personnel in the autonomous region has been lined up to start one after the other after the fasting month of Ramadhan.

Ambassador Urabe came here Thursday for various official functions including his gracing of the “Friendship Hall” building turnover.

Upon his arrival, Urabe immediately met officials of the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team (IMT) and top leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in separate meetings.

At a dinner reception with Adiong and other ARMM officials, Urabe talked casually to give emphasis on the “great potentials” of the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao in terms of “vast fertile lands and natural resources.”

Such bright prospects, he said, would just need “proper” interventions and investments to spur socio-economic development in the region.

Noting that “Japan is close to the Philippines,” Urabe said his government’s interventions in the region are meant “to help create peace and bright future for Mindanao.”

Japan is a key member of the IMT that monitors the ceasefire accord between the government and the MILF, and in the pool of foreign institutions facilitating the GPH-MILF peace talks. It had hosted early this month the one-on-one meeting between President Aquino and MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim.