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IOM and Japan Collaborate to Bolster Peace and Security Initiatives in Mindanao, Philippines

United Nations Information Centre Manila

Manila, 14 February 2024 — The International Organization for Migration (IOM), and the Government of Japan, yesterday launched the project Enhancing and Sustaining Peace and Security Mechanisms in Mindanao, Philippines. The project aims to empower the Joint Peace and Security Teams (JPST), to better serve the communities as agents of peace and development by improving their physical, social and economic capacities.

The JPST is a unique transitional peace and security mechanism composed of members from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Since 2019, the JPSTs have been deployed to 24 areas across Mindanao to assist communities in conflict hotspots in an effort to sustain peace, manage conflict, and foster resolution.

This project will train JPST members on community-oriented safeguarding, provide logistics and communications equipment, rehabilitate JPST stations, and provide important socioeconomic assistance to communities.

“For lasting peace to be achieved in Mindanao, it is essential that those at the frontline be given every possible support for effective enforcement of peacebuilding initiatives,” said Kazuhiko Koshikawa, the Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines. The project, with a funding of USD 2.58 million, is the second initiative that the Government of Japan has financed to support the JPST. Ambassador Koshikawa expressed hope that the project will help the JPSTs to become “more resilient and effective implementers of peace and stability” in the region.

The project responds to the urgent needs of the JPSTs and emerged particularly as a result of recent flooding, heavy rainfall, and security incidents that have caused significant damage to JPST stations, and strained their operational capacity to maintain peace and respond to disasters. The project will also support the JPSTs to reach their full potential and integrate strategies that enhance their responsiveness to the evolving expectations and perceptions of communities.

“The JPST is an important component of the Bangsamoro peace process,” said Tristan Burnett, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission. “It is a unique mechanism that builds on the joint efforts of multiple government agencies and partners that are committed to establishing a successful case of conflict transformation and make a positive impact on peacebuilding in Mindanao,” continued Burnett, reiterating IOM’s commitment to supporting the implementation of the peace agreement.

“Improving the capability of the JPSTs is a testament of our common desire to improve their overall welfare so that their work will have a greater impact on the communities they serve. By enhancing their physical, social, and economic wellbeing we are empowering them to effectively carry out their duties as guardians of peace and agents of development in the region,” said Isidro Purisima, Senior Undersecretary of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity.

“This partnership between the Philippines and the Government of Japan exemplifies the spirit of international cooperation and solidarity. It demonstrates the power of collaboration in overcoming barriers and forging a path towards a brighter future – not only for the Bangsamoro people, but for our nation as a whole,” he added.

The project will be implemented in collaboration with the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPRU), the Joint Normalization Committee (JNC), the Joint Peace and Security Committee (JPSC), the security sector, the Bangsamoro Government and local government units, and beneficiary communities.

For more information, please contact: Tristan Burnett, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission at [email protected]

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