MANILA – The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) led the Philippine government in signing the grant agreement for community development in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan and Noriaki Niwa, Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Philippine Office, signed the grant agreement in May 25, 2015 on behalf of the Philippine and Japanese Governments, respectively.

As one of Japan’s major development partners, the Philippines will receive a grant amounting to JPY1.117 billion or almost PhP500 million to facilitate the rehabilitation and construction of farm-to-market roads in Mindanao, particularly in Bumbaran in Lanao del Sur, Datu Paglas in Maguindanao, and Alamada in North Cotabato.

“Through linking target farm villages to major highways, the project is expected to enhance the welfare of farmers that rely largely in crop production as their main source of livelihood,” said Balisacan in his statement during the signing.

The grant assistance was made possible through the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development. The community development project, to be implemented by the Department of Agriculture, was endorsed through diplomatic channels on September 17, 2014.

“We look forward to the attainment of full benefits from this undertaking and eventually to the enjoyment of ‘dividends of peace’ in Mindanao through the implementation of various peace and development programs in the area,” the Cabinet official said.