Japan donates water supply systems in Upi, Maguindanao

Japanese Embassy charge d’affaires Nakata Masahiro provided separate video messages during the handover ceremony of two level 2 water supply systems at Barangays Looy and Rifao in Upi Maguindanao on the 21st and 22nd June.

Participants in the event were BARMM Senior Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy Abdulraof Abdul Macacua, BARMM Minister of Labor and Employment Romeo Sema, Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs by BARMM Melanio Umbit Ulama, the mayor of Upi Ramon Piang and the executive director of BDA Windel Diangcalan. In view of the pandemic, International Labor Organization (ILO) country director Khalid Hassan also conveyed his messages through video footage.

The first Tier 2 water supply system launched on June 21 was in Barangay Looy, south of Upi. Occupied by 70 percent indigenous people, the Teduray, this village relies heavily on dug wells, rivers and rain for their water and sanitation needs. More than 500 households and around 900 schoolchildren will benefit from the hydraulic infrastructure of this barangay.

In Barangay Rifao, a level 2 water supply system consisting of eight standpipes that will serve 80 households and 425 schoolchildren was handed over on June 22. Forty-five workers, all Tedurays, were hired to work on the water installations. This Barangay, mostly inhabited by the Tedurays, will now have access to safe and reliable water.

Using the local resource-based approach to create jobs in these difficult times, men and women in the community were involved in the construction works. To ensure the safety of workers, Covid-19 occupational health and safety protocols have been put in place. In addition, workers were trained on the operation and maintenance of the water system to ensure ownership and sustainability of the project.

This initiative is part of the ILO-Japan project on water and sanitation in the Bangsamoro region, which was signed on March 6, 2019. The ILO’s intervention plans to develop water infrastructure. water supply that will benefit approximately 11,814 households in the Bangsamoro region. About 2,463 informal sector workers in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato City and 63 barangays in northern Cotabato will benefit from emergency employment with social protection.

To ensure the safety and health of workers, hand washing facilities are in place on construction sites and occupational safety and health protocols adapted to Covid-19 are in place. Although the overall objective of this endeavor is peace and development in Mindanao, it will also contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 6 on safe drinking water and sanitation, as well as Goal 8 on decent work and economic growth.

Since 1974, Japan has had a long-standing cooperation with the ILO. In the Philippines, Japan has supported a number of ILO projects on disaster response, sustainable livelihoods, peace and security, local economic development, among others.

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