At least 3,000 households in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Cotabato benefited from five new water systems provided by a joint project of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the government of Japan.
Under the ILO-Japan Water and Sanitation Project, community members, indigenous peoples, and former combatants would build the water systems in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) where access to safe water is lower than the national average.
“The project has contributed to building peace, promoting decent work, and reducing poverty,” said said Khalid Hassan, director of the ILO Country Office for the Philippines.
“Communities … have gained access to decent work and livelihoods with better working conditions and social protection benefits,” he said.
The ILO and Japan handed over the water systems on March 9, 10, and 15, 2022, in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Cotabato.
The partnership, which started in 2019, provided decent jobs and promoted peace through improved water supply and sanitation services in BARMM.
“Food, water, shelter, and livelihoods are among the prerequisites to attaining personal security,” said Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko of the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines.
“By ensuring better access to these basic necessities, we empower the people to realize their own potential, and eventually, to contribute to the development of their own society,” he said.
In Balabagan, Lanao del Sur, three new water systems built by 269 workers will benefit over 2,000 households in five villages.
Balabagan is home to the Maranaos, settlers, and indigenous peoples who used to buy drinking water for US$2 per 200-liter drum.
Meanwhile, more than a thousand households and a school with 292 children in a Moro National Liberation Front community in Kabacan, Cotabato, have also gained access to safe and clean water.
About 57 local workers, majority of them former combatants, built the water system. The level II water system has 22 tap stands where safe and clean water flows.
With support from ILO’s Implementing Partner, A Single Drop for Safe Water, Inc., workers were trained in skills development and water construction.
The project ensured safety and health through the observance of occupational safety and health protocols that are also COVID-19 responsive.