MANILA — Japan will provide grant assistance worth US$431,446 or around P25.2 million to fund 4 Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) in the Philippines this year.
These include the construction of a two-story school building in the municipality of Ilog, Negros Occidental, which will get the biggest chunk, worth US$247,228 (P14.4 million). The structure will house 6 classrooms for at least 215 students of Ilog Elementary School.
The local government of Ilog and the Department of Education (DepEd) expressed gratitude for the grant. Education Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said this would help address classroom shortage in the country, estimated to be at 165,000 by the end of 2022.
"We’re very happy because these are sources outside of the national budget, where we can put up more classrooms… With the shortage of classrooms all over the country, we’re looking at sources outside the national budget," Densing told the media.
Based on DepEd’s projections, it will need funding of at least P100 billion a year to fully address the classroom shortage in the country within 7 years.
Densing noted that apart from the national budget, the government is also looking at partnerships with non-government organizations, civil society groups, and business groups, or the possibility of tapping loan grants from development partners, to fill the gap in classrooms.
"For 2023, we were given a budget of P15.6 billion for new construction (of school buildings)… I’m quite sure it will be more than 20 years (to fully address the classroom backlog) at that rate. The appeal really is for everybody to help us," he said.
Also among the projects approved by the Japanese government to receive grant assistance is the procurement and installation of a mobile water purification tank in Mabato Elementary School in Rosario, Batangas, worth US$105,380 (P6.1 million).
Meanwhile, some US$62,247 (P3.6 million) will be used to build a food processing training center in Bombon, Camarines Sur which aims to increase the production values and the income of farmers in 10 target communities. The funding also includes provision for equipment like a freezer, vegetable chiller, vacuum packaging, dehydrator, and electric stand mixer.
The fourth project under GGP for FY 2022 is the procurement of a vehicle worth US$16,591 (P971,428) for the transportation of street children in Lipa City, Batangas and neighboring towns, aided by Sarnelli Center for Street Children Foundation, Inc. as they go through rehabilitation and reintegration.
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhiko Koshikawa led the signing of grant contracts on Thursday with partners from the Municipality of Ilog, Negros Occidental, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc., Sarnelli Center for Street Children Foundation, Inc. and Golden Wheel Awards Foundation, Inc.
“Japan continues to be the Philippines’ advocate in achieving sustainable and inclusive growth. We have forged strong ties as we actively work together to uplift the lives of Filipinos through our Official Development Assistance projects, particularly the GGP,” Koshikawa said.
“Though small in scale, we believe that the GGP makes significant contributions in directly empowering local communities by responding to the specific and growing needs of the people,” he added.
“Making the most of our limited budget, we carefully selected these four projects from a large pool of applications in consideration of their positive and immediate impact on your communities,” the Japanese ambassador noted.
The government of Japan launched grant assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects in the Philippines in 1989 to assist NGOs and local public authorities in responding to various development needs at the grassroots level.
To date, there are 557 grassroots projects funded by the program.