Groundbreaking of Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction Grant with Department of Social Welfare and Development

Remarks by ADB Southeast Asia Department Director General James Nugent at the Groundbreaking of Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) grant with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on 8 April 2014

Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Corazon Soliman (5th from left) leads the groundbreaking ceremony to launch a Japan-funded rehabilitation project of a schoolbuilding in Barangay Bislig, Tanauan, Leyte, Philippines. Photo: Joel Mangahas/ADB

Secretary Soliman, Mayor Tecson, Mr. Bolt, Mr. Roa, ladies and gentlemen, colleagues.

I am very pleased to be here again in Bislig, Tanauan today for the groundbreaking of this very first project under a $20 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction to provide people affected by Typhoon Yolanda with access to emergency support and recovery systems.

I thank Secretary Soliman and the Department of Social Welfare and Development for the partnership.

ADB President Nakao visited this school in February and promised the schoolchildren whom he met that day that ADB will support government efforts to rebuild their school. Today, we come back with our colleagues from DSWD and Department of Education of the Philippines (DepED), and the municipal government of Tanauan to deliver on that promise.

This grant is part of $900 million package of development assistance of ADB will provide to the government. We are working closely with the Government, particularly DSWD, and other development partners on the implementation of these projects.

Aside from the ADB assistance, we staff, both Filipino and non-Filipino, have been giving our personal time and resources to support relief and rehabilitation efforts at a scale never before seen in ADB. As the ADB President said early on after Yolanda, the Philippines is "our home" because the ADB headquarters is in the Philippines and we live here, together with our families. So we felt and shared every part of this disaster with each and everyone of you.

At this point, I would also like to thank the Japanese Government for its support to this project through the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction or JFPR.

Since its establishment in 2000, the JFPR has supported 162 grant projects worth about $468 million, reaching various parts of Asia. Here in the Philippines, we have 13 grant projects totaling about $41 million, ranging from urban renewal projects of slum communities in Metro Manila to Women's Resource Centers in Mindanao and today's project.

This JFPR grant project will support 74 poor rural municipalities affected by the typhoon by restoring critical infrastructure such as  water systems, school buildings, health centers, rural access roads, and  power distribution systems to provide electricity  to health and education centers. We also aim to build community skills in masonry, establish mobile clinics to reach hard-to-serve villages, and set up a system to monitor vulnerability to future disasters, promote cash-for-work and restore livelihood for farmers and the fishing community. In the case of Bislig Elementary School, we will be working with you in building back better. And later, you will see an example of a model that the government has designed in the context of  building back better. Thank you.