Roads to pave way for peace in Mindanao, Jica says
Lasting peace in Mindanao was seen to get a big boost from two road projects to be rolled out in the war-torn island with financial assistance from Japan.
In a statement on Thursday (Dec. 26) Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) said it recently signed with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) a grant agreement for the detailed design study of two road plans under the Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao (RNDP-CAAM).
These are the Matanog-Barira-Alamada-Libungan Road (Matanog-Barira Section), and Tapian Lebak Coastal Road.
On top of the grant, Jica said it was providing more than $200 million in official development loan for detailed design and construction or improvement of four other projects under the RNDP-CAAM.
These are Parang Balabagan Road, Marawi City Ring Road, Parang East Diversion Road, and Manuangan Parang Road, Jica said.
Jica said there was a need to support peace-building through infrastructure development in Mindanao.
Armed conflict, it said, had “affected the region’s connectivity.”
The road density of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was measured at only 0.10 or “lower than the average” in the entire island, according to Jica.
“Through the road network project, people from conflict-affected areas will have links to markets, public facilities, and improve agribusiness potential of their place,” it said.
“Building roads in remote, conflict-affected communities will help bridge the economic gap in the region and help consolidate peace,” the Jica statement said quoting Jica senior representative Kiyo Kawabuchi.
The latest government data showed that in 2018, the Mindanao autonomous region was the lone region where the poverty incidence rate among families inched up, to 53.6 percent from 53.3 percent in 2015.
In contrast, the nationwide poverty incidence among families dropped to 12.1 percent in 2018 from 2015’s 17.9 percent.
The three poorest provinces in the Philippines last year were also in the autonomous region:Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Sulu.
Edited by TSB
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