THE JAPAN International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is assisting the Bangsamoro government in its development plan for Cotabato City, the regions political and economic center.  

In a statement on Wednesday, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) said the Japanese agency has completed its pre-feasibility study on an urban infrastructure development plan for the city, which will be incorporated in the ongoing drafting of the 2nd Bangsamoro Development Plan for 2023-2028.  

The presentation gained an in-depth understanding of one of JICAs initiatives to assist the BARMM, which envisaged to accelerate the quality socio-economic development of Greater Cotabato to position it as a growth center in the Bangsamoro region, Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority Director-General Mohajirin T. Ali said.  

JICA presented its study to BARMM officials last week.  

Mr. Ali said the regional governments enhanced 12-point priority agendaincludes the development of a reliable and resilient infrastructure for land, sea, and air transportationand communications, among others.   

This will also serve as a framework for the alignment and harmonization of all assistance from development partners supporting the Bangsamoro transition,he said.   

JICA-Philippines Chief Representative of Sakamoto Takema said the purpose of the survey was to create a compass of urban infrastructure development for Cotabato City being the growth center in the region.  

Advancing peace in BARMM, including Cotabato city, is the key to the success of the sustainable and inclusive growth of the entire Philippines [and] I would like to draw JICAs function here in the Bangsamoro region, using this survey in this context,Mr. Sakamoto said.  

The Japanese official also underscored JICAs continued commitment to support the regional government, local government units, and the people in BARMM towards inclusive development. MSJ