By ROY C. MABASA
After more than two years of hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) program is preparing to resume the dispatch of its volunteers to grassroot communities in the Philippines.
The Embassy of Japan said the official date of resumption will be announced soon as COVID-19 cases are seeing a downtrend and mobility restrictions easing up.
JOCV volunteers Takuya Sekiguchi, an ICT and PC instructor and Yoshimi Miyagawa, a culinary expert met last week with Japan’s Economic Minister Nakata Masahiro to discuss their future assignments in anticipation of the program’s resumption.
Sekiguchi will be assigned in Cavite, while Miyagawa will be assigned in Rizal.
Early this month, JICA held an online caravan dubbed “Enhancing Partnerships”. This virtual venue provided information on the JOCV Program and discussed how it can provide technical assistance in various development areas all over the country.
The JOCV is an overseas volunteer program for Japanese nationals who wish to play a role in the nation-building process of developing countries, where they live amongst the local populace as they pass on their relevant knowledge and skills.
Japanese volunteers work towards enhancing bilateral friendly relations at the grassroots level by immersing in the community lifestyle and culture.
The Philippines is one of four countries where JOCVs were officially dispatched after the program’s launch in 1966.
Since its inception, more than 1,600 Japanese people aspiring to contribute to the social and economic development of the Philippines were able to form valuable friendships nationwide.
Armed with various skills in areas of agriculture, health, education, and technology, among others, they went out of their comfort zones to live with local Filipinos and provided critical technical assistance at the grassroots level.
In 2016, JOCV was conferred with the Ramon Magsaysay Award, highlighting its contribution to international solidarity and collaboration with local people.