Resumption of Dispatch of Development Experts to the International Monitoring Team in the Philippines
February 26, 2010
- Upon the request from the negotiating parties (the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)), the Government of Japan has decided to resume dispatching Mr. Tomonori Kikuchi, First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines, and Mr. Yusuke Mori, Second Secretary of the Embassy (on loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)) as development experts to the International Monitoring Team (IMT) for the Mindanao Peace Process in the Philippines (Headquarters: Cotabato City, Mindanao). The IMT will resume its activities on February 28.
- Both experts are expected to work in the socio-economic development aspect of the IMT, including the assessment of the needs for the reconstruction and development, the monitor of development projects in the former conflict-affected areas, and the formulation of a comprehensive development plan.
- Mr. Kikuchi and Mr. Mori, who were dispatched to the IMT in 2008, have engaged in their activities based in Manila, due to the suspension of the IMT caused by security concerns in Mindanao. In light of the completion of negotiating parties’ readiness to accept and resume the IMT, the Government of Japan has decided to send them to the IMT again.
- The Government of Japan has recognized the significance of the Mindanao Peace Process and contributed to its progress, through various assistance projects which are called in total J-BIRD, and participation in the International Contact Group (ICG) among others. The Government of Japan is committed to further advancing the Mindanao Peace Process through reconstruction and development by this resumption of dispatch of development experts to the IMT.
(Reference) Mindanao Peace Process in the Philippines
- International Monitoring Team (IMT)
The IMT, composed of 60 members from Malaysia (Head), Brunei and Libya, was launched in Mindanao in October 2004, after the GRP and the MILF signed the ceasefire agreement in 2003. It is headquartered in Cotabato City, Mindanao, and monitored ceasefire. In October 2006, Japan dispatched a development expert to its newly established socio-economic development aspect. However, in August 2008, armed conflict resumed and security situation deteriorated when the national coordination surrounding resolutions of pending land problems failed. At the end of November 2008, Malaysia drew off its contingent and the IMT suspended its activities. At this resumption of the IMT, two NGOs will participate in the IMT, in addition to four original participating countries.
- Japan’s contribution to the Mindanao Peace Process
Japan recognizes that peace in Mindanao is indispensable for peace and prosperity in Asia. Japan has contributed to reconstruction and development of Mindanao through the dispatch of development experts to socio-economic development aspect of the IMT and intensive implementation of Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects in former conflict-affected areas. Japan’s assistance in total is called the “Japan-Bangsamoro Initiative for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD)”, and is well-known among residents of Mindanao. (*“Bangsamoro” refers to Muslims in Mindanao.)
- International Contact Group (ICG)
The ICG was established when the formal peace talks were resumed in December 2009. Its roles include giving advice to the parties concerned on the Mindanao Peace Process and participating in peace talks as observers. It is composed of Japan, the United Kingdom, Turkey and four NGOs, upon the request from the GRP, the MILF, and Malaysia, which has served as facilitator of the peace talks.
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