Message by the Ministry of Labor and Employment at the handover of the water system in Wao, Lanao del Sur under the ILO-Japan Water and Sanitation Project

By Minister Romeo Sema of the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE) Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao at the handover of the water system in Wao, Lanao del Sur under the ILO-Japan Water and Sanitation Project, 30 March 2021, Lanao del Sur, Philippines

Meeting document | Manila and Maguindanao, Philippines | 30 March 2021
The new water system built by community members is the largest in Wao, Lanao del Sur.
Bismillahi Rahmani Raheem.

Assalamo Alaikom Warahmatullah Wabarakatuho.

My courtesy and respect to the Mayor of Wao, Lanao del Sur Honourable Alvino B. Balicao, Jr, Mr Khalid Hassan, Country Director of International Labour Organization - Philippines, Ms. Jennylyn, Programme Manager of International Labour Organization, and of course to the Japan Government – in the Philippines led by His Excellency Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko, other distinguished guests and visitors.

MOLE Minister Sema highlights the importance of working together for a better Bangsamoro.
I am grateful that the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE) has been given the honour and responsibility to chair the Project Advisory and Review Committee (PARC) of the ILO – Japan Water Project. It is a challenging task but we continue to embrace it and commit it. I am also very happy to be part of this significant event.

Today, we are witnessing another major accomplishment of empowered communities – the completion and handover of the water system constructed by the people of Wao, which is supported by the International Labour Organization, and funded by Japan Government in partnership with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). The turn-over of the water system project in this community from ILO and Japan Government is a manifestation of their vibrant support in the Bangsamoro autonomous government to make our region a better place to live in.

This endeavour is aligned with the 12-point priority agenda of the Chief Minister to ensure that basic services and programmes are accessible in communities of the region. The BARMM is advocating international policy standard of the United Nations organizations in the Bangsamoro autonomous region.

Inauguration of the new water system connecting six villages in Lanao del Sur.
Mapalad po ang mga residente ng komunidad na ito na magkaroon ng proyektong water system sapagkat ang tubig ay napakahalaga sa buhay ng tao. Ito ay nagsisilbing inumin ng tao upang mapunan ang uhaw at pangangailangan ng ating katawan. Nagsisilbi rin itong panglinis ng ating katawan, mga pagkain at mga gamit upang mapanatiling malinis at malusog ang bawat myembro ng ating pamilya.(Community residents are fortunate to have this water system project given the value of water in people’s lives. It will provide clean and safe drinking water to the community to quench their thirst and to meet the needs of their body. Water can also be used in taking a bath and cleaning our bodies, washing and cooking food, and in ensuring that we keep each member of our family clean and healthy.)

The project addresses concerns on sanitation and hygiene of workers, students and the rest of residents in the community. Let us all remember that “water is life”.

Indeed, we are very lucky to have the Japan Government and International Labour Organization as our development partners in maintaining a peaceful and healthy Bangsamoro. We hope that your goodwill will always be with us as we struggle to uplift the living conditions of Bangsamoro in the region. You have been partner of the Ministry in establishing a decent work for the Bangsamoro people.

However, the big challenge for us now is how to sustain the management of this project. Based on our experience, since the signing of the 1996 Peace Agreement between the Government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), there are so many water system projects that were given to the Bangsamoro communities but they  did not last long- may be because of lack of strong commitment from our Local Government Units and communities. I therefore challenge the local government of Wao, Lanao del Sur and its constituents to implement properly the operations and maintenance plan of the water system to ensure the project’s sustainability.

Lastly, I would like to ask the support of everyone to the leaders of the Bangsamoro government in attaining a long-lasting peace and sustainable development in the Bangsamoro region. Let us work together in building a strong foundation for better Bangsamoro.

Thank you very much and Wassalam.

Handover of the new water system to the local government and community of Wao, Lanao del Sur.