Mahinog, Camiguin, January 8, 2010 – Japan's Minister for Economic Affairs Tomochika Uyama led the groundbreaking ceremony for the 1.013 billion yen (P500 million) Flood Disaster Mitigation Project in Camiguin Province yesterday in time of its 42nd Camiguin foundation day.
The Japanese minister was joined by Congressman Pedro P. Romualdo, Governor Jurdin Jesus M. Romualdo, Mahinog Mayor Alex R. Jajalla and other local officials here.
The groundbreaking rites was also attended by Secretary to the Ambassador Mr. Hirosato Yoshino, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) chief representative Mr. Norio Matsuda, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Project Management Office director Philip Menez and Ms. Yokiko Sano.
The entire project, which will be implemented by the DPWH, will cover the construction of two Sabo dams along Pontod river and the reconstruction of damaged Hubangon bridge, all in the municipality of Mahinog.
In his speech, Minister Uyama said the project was part of the Official Development Assistance (ODA) grant aid agreements between the Philippines and Japan that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed in Tokyo after their bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso in June last year.
This flood disaster mitigation project, he said, is designed to improve the standard of living in Camiguin through the development of its flood control system and enhancement of road network of its main highway.
"This project will boost economic activity in the region and improve the quality of life of the people," he said.
The minister also expressed hope that the project will enhance the "strategic partnership" between the Government of Japan and the people of Camiguin.
For his part, Congressman PPR had expressed gratefulness over the realization of the project and thanked also the Japanese leader for their past assistance extended to the province when he was still the governor.
He said in 2004 JICA had assisted the people of Camiguin in developing and implementing a non structural flood disaster prevention measures, which eventually made Camiguin the consistent winner in the national search for the best disaster coordinating councils.
Camiguin island suffered much loss and damage during Typhoon Nanang in November 2001, which resulted in approximately 250 dead and missing as well as estimated damages of over $5 million.
Governor JJ also conveyed his deep appreciation to the Japanese minister and the Japanese people for their assistance and cooperation extended to his province.
"It's a dream come true for Camiguin. This project would be of big help in our flood disaster mitigation program, Thank you Government and people of Japan," the grateful governor said.
The governor added that since this Sabo dam is a first of its kind in the country, this will become a potential tourist attraction in the province.
Mayor Jajalla, for his part, said this Sabo dam once completed will not only save many lives but also improve the people's living condition and contribute to socio economic development of the town.
"We are looking forward to more tourism and economic activities pouring in our town because of this multi million project. This would really contribute to job generation and economic opportunities among the people in this municipality and entire province," he said. (Homer R. Jajalla –Mahinog Information Office)