- Honorable Member of the Parliament Romeo Sema;
- Officials of the Ministry of Labor and Employment;
- Honorable Mayor Herlo Guzman, Jr. of Kabacan, North Cotabato;
- His Excellency Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines;
- Mr Mentato Lumambas, President of the Nanga-an Peace and Development Association;
- Workers and partners from the community;
- Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, Asalamu Alaykum! Mapiya mapita!
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought devastating impacts to the livelihoods and income of the vulnerable people. This is especially true for those who went through decades-long struggle for self-determination.
It is highly important to consult and engage communities on building a better normal that respects their rights and ensures access to decent work.
The Employment and Decent Work for Peace and Resilience Recommendation, 2017 (No. 205) recognizes the importance of generating employment and decent work in the promotion of peace, prevention of crisis situations arising from conflicts and disasters, recovery, and in building resilience.
Through self-determination, the MNLF community in Nanga-an, have participated and defined their own priorities for development. In building the water system under the ILO-Japan Water and Sanitation Project, they learned basic project management, bookkeeping, procurement and some technical skills required as community-contractor. They participated in designing, implementing and evaluating progress of the project.
Decent work contributes to the achievement of peace, social cohesion and transitional justice in BARMM. Through this project, 57 workers, mostly former MNLF combatants, were engaged in productive employment, with provision of personal protective equipment and tools, while ensuring their safety and health at work.
For months, we have witnessed the challenges in project implementation. Rainy days plus possible risks due to COVID-19 made it difficult to transport materials, and hurdle technical difficulties in the construction works.
We commend the patience and determination of A Single Drop for Safe Water, our Implementing Partner, and Nanga-an Peace and Development Association, the community contractor. They have both worked hard to address the issues on the ground.
We are happy that 22 tap stands, one ground reservoir and one intake box were constructed, bringing safe and clean water to 1,047 households and one school with 292 enrolled school children.
Green works and protection to biodiversity were also manifested in engineering designs, use of solar power for water chlorination and compliance to environmental safeguards.
The ILO extends its gratitude to the Ministry of Labor and Employment, the Chairperson of the Project Advisory and Review Committee (PARC). Our appreciation also goes to all member-Ministries of the Committee for providing valuable inputs and direction.
Finally, we thank the People of Japan for believing in a human-centred approach through decent work, with social justice and equity at the core to build lasting peace in the Bangsamoro region.
Again, my warmest congratulations to everyone. We hope that this Project will have lasting positive impact in your local economy.
Maraming salamat po (Thank you very much)!