On the Establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority
(Statement by Foreign Minister Taro Kono)
February 22, 2019
1. Japan heartily welcomes the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority today. This is an important milestone that marks a considerable progress in the Mindanao peace process.
2. It is critically important to ensure that this progress in the peace process leads to a visible improvement in the living condition of the people of Mindanao. This is why Japan, as a partner that has been consistently supporting the peace process for more than ten years, intends to seize this opportunity to further enhance its support to Mindanao.
3. This month, the Exchange of Notes were signed in order to provide a 200 million dollar loan for a road network that supports the foundation of people’s livelihood in Mindanao. The Exchange of Notes were also signed to provide grant assistance for reconstruction of a vocational center in Marawi City. Japan further intends to provide assistance for livelihood assistance in the agricultural sector and construction of water supply facilities. Japan will also provide vehicles and other equipment worth about 160 million pesos (300 million yen) for the Joint Peace and Security Team and the Independent Decommissioning Body, in order to support their initial activities of normalization (decommissioning and disarmament of MILF combatants) through the UNDP. This package of new assistance is equivalent to the total amount of assistance that Japan has provided to Mindanao through J-BIRD(Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development) projects since 2006.
4. Japan will continue to strengthen its support as the peace process progresses to ensure that the people of Mindanao can feel the benefit of peace.
[Reference] The Mindanao peace process
(1) Through peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines and the MILF, the Framework Agreement was signed in October 2012, and the Comprehensive Agreement was signed in March 2014.
(2) Based on the final peace agreement, the new autonomous government (Bangsamoro) will be established through the following transition process: (i) the enactment of the organic law; (ii) holding a municipal plebiscite; (iii) the establishment of the BTA; and (iv) the election of the Bangsamoro Assembly.
(3) The Government of Japan has been contributing to the advancement of the peace process and to the reconstruction and development of the Mindanao region through efforts that include: (i) the dispatch of development experts to the Social and Economic Development Section of the International Monitoring Team; (ii) the concentrated implementation of economic cooperation projects such as extending Grassroots Grant Assistance for Human Security in former conflict-affected areas (Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD)); and (iii) participation in the International Contact Group (ICG) that provides advice by attending peace talks as an observer.
(4) In addition, the Government of Japan expressed that, from a mid-to-long term perspective, it will match its support with the progress made in the process for the establishment of a new autonomous government in Bangsamoro by enhancing its assistance for development in Mindanao, which Japan has been implementing under J-BIRD in a wide range of areas, in the Japan-Philippines Joint Statement on Bilateral Cooperation for the Next Five Years (PDF) announced on the occasion of the visit to Japan of President Duterte in October 2017.