Tacloban City (October 22) – Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura attended the inauguration of the River Flood Control project in Caibiran, Biliran in the afternoon of October 19, 2010.

The Ambassador who also graced the 66th Anniversary of the Leyte Gulf Landings in Palo, Leyte on October 21, was warmly welcomed by Biliran Governor Gerry Boy Espina, Caibiran Mayor Eulalio Maderazo, other local officials and the people of Caibiran.

The project was funded by the Japanese Government through the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects ( GGP ) with a grant of US$ 57,930 (approximately 2.7 million pesos ).

In his speech during the inauguration, Ambassador Katsura said that the “Japanese Government, as the top donor of the ODA to the Philippines, has been supporting most of the flood control projects in the Philippines as part of our commitment to help Filipinos achieve a better quality of life and economic development.”

He also expressed his hope that the project will further strengthen the friendship between the people of the Philippines and Japan and will also add to the “fostering of strategic partnership between our two countries towards the future.”

As the top donor of the official development assistance, Japan launched the GGP in the Philippines in 1989 for the purpose of reducing poverty and helping various communities engaged in grassroots activities.

As of March 2010, 434 grassroots projects funded by GGP – ranging from roughly 1 to 4 million pesos, have been implemented by NGOs, local government units and other non-profit organizations. The total grant for these projects so far amounts to US$ 18,982,775.

In the Municipality of Caibiran, coastal barangays, specifically Barangay Victory, have always experienced flooding during the rainy season. The existing flood control wall which was constructed more than 20 years ago is no longer adequate to contain the swelling of the river.

In 2008, when Typhoon Frank hit the entire Visayas Region, Barangay Victory with 3,700 residents was not spared from the destruction . About 72 houses were totally damaged and a lot of families had to flee to safer parts of the barangay.

During typhoons, barangay roads are impassable. Residents have to walk with their feet immerse d in the flood water. Students have difficulty in going to schools and livelihood activities are disrupted. Aside from these, the residents are also infected with water-borne diseases such as diarrhea and skin diseases, which are caused by the contaminated flood water.

To ease this situation of the residents in Barangay Victory, the Embassy of Japan supported the construction of a 150-meter river flood control wall.

With the grant from GGP, flooding will now be prevented, and the safety of some 3,700 residents during typhoons will be ensured.

It is also expected that cases of water-borne diseases in the barangay will be reduced. (PIA 8)

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