- Honourable Member of the Parliament Romeo Sema;
- Mayor Edna Ogka-Benito of Balabagan, Lanao del Sur;
- His Excellency Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines;
- Officials of the Ministry of Labor and Employment;
- Mr Billy John Victorie Ogca, President of the Balabagan Water System Association;
- Workers and partners from the community;
- Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, mapiya kapipita!
The completion of these water systems has not been easy with COVID-19.
The pandemic caused massive impact on incomes and livelihoods of vulnerable people. It has exacerbated fragilities in conflict sensitive areas, especially among those in the informal sector who do not have access to financial assets, properties as well as social protection.
This project supports local economies and strengthens resilience during these challenging times by building local skills and generating jobs and incomes.
The principles of consultation and participation were practiced. The voices of the communities were heard, not only as beneficiaries, but also as partners of this project.
Together, we have brought water closer to over 2,000 households in five (5) barangays through the three (3) water systems built by 269 local workers in Balabagan.
As an integral part of inclusive and sustainable development, the ILO ensures that fundamental principles and rights at work, decent working conditions and livelihoods, as well as social protection of workers are promoted.
In the construction of the water systems, the workers, composed of moros, settlers and indigenous women and men, received not only their wages but also social protection benefits. We also promoted equal pay and opportunity.
At the worksite, COVID-19 protocols were implemented to ensure that all workers were healthy and safe. Complete personal protective equipment and appropriate tools were provided.
Green works were also applied by preventing erosion by planting shrubs and grasses to bury water pipes, and through rip rapping to protect the water source.
We salute those who played crucial role in establishing these water systems the Balabagan Water System Association (BAWASA) the community-contractor for their patience and determination in learning the various aspects of construction and project management; the five (5) barangay and municipal local governments for helping in addressing implementation issues; and A Single Drop for Safe Water, Inc. for their tenacity in the over-all supervision and monitoring of the works in the sites.
I would like to also acknowledge the ILO staff who have worked so hard to ensure the successful completion of this water system.
Together, we have not only constructed a water system but we built more resilient and stronger communities.
All these contribute to supporting the Philippines in achieving the Decent Work Country Programme and building a better future of work as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and support the Bangsamoro in its transition phase.
Today, we pursue a meaningful partnership as we ensure the sustainability of our water systems to benefit generations ahead.
Again, my warmest congratulations to everyone.
Maraming salamat po (Thank you very much)!