Thursday, January 28, 2016

PRDP spends Php1B for Bicol agri-development projects in 2 years; more to come—DA
By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, Jan. 27 (PNA) -- A six-year inclusive growth initiative of the Aquino administration, the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), during its first two years alone has already provided Bicol with over Php1 billion worth of agricultural advancement support.

And the regional office for Bicol of the Department of Agriculture (DA) based in Pili, Camarines Sur on Wednesday said it is looking forward to more funding as proposals for sub-projects that would benefit a new set of farmers and fishermen are now being accepted.

“Our challenge for this year is for us to do more than what we accomplished in the past two years so that we are able to maximize the project towards lifting the economic conditions not only of our farmers and fisher folks but the entire region as well,” PDRP deputy project director Elena de los Santos told local project implementers during a recent gathering here.

The gathering convened Provincial Project Management and Implementing Units (PPMIU) from the six provinces of Bicol in a four-day a year-end assessment and 2016 planning workshop in preparation for the project implementation evaluation of enterprise development sub-projects on the ground to be conducted soon by the World Bank (WB).

De los Santos, who is also DA’s regional technical director for operations and extension, said the PDRP gave the region a total of over Php1.1 billion worth of agricultural infrastructure and Php91 million for agri-business enterprises sub-projects in 2014-2015.

Among these infra sub-projects are the Php196-million concreting of the Pistola-Tablon farm-to-market road (FMR) in Oas, Albay and the rehabilitation/upgrading of the San Isidro-Pag Oring Nuevo Libmanan and the Cuco-Bagong Silang, Pasacao FMRs, both in Camarines Sur, worth a total of Php94.8 million, De los Santos said.

These sub-projects are now starting to realize its target of raising the annual real farm incomes of PRDP household beneficiaries in the region by at least five percent, increase the value of annual marketed output by seven percent and boost the number of farmers and fishers with improved access to DA services by 20 percent, she said.

For this year, Bicol is expecting the release of funding for the Php1.5-billion sub-projects approved last year by the PDRP’s Regional Project Advisory Board (PRAB) for the provinces of Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte and Catanduanes.

Among these sub-projects are geonet for Albay and Camarines Norte, coco sap sugar for Camarines Sur and abaca for Catanduanes whose value chain analyses (VCA) were already issued with No Objection Letter by the PRAB.

VCA is a science-based tool adopted by PRDP to identify market opportunities that can promote growth, determine constraints to the industry’s progress, describe interfirm relations’ nature and justify basis for project interventions.

Serving as the basis in formulating Provincial Commodity Investment Plans, a three-year strategic plan crafted by the DA and provincial governments, VCA is also designed to develop collaboration and generate stakeholders’ commitment to the project implementation.

At least 13 subprojects under PDRP’s Intensified Building Up of Infrastructure and Logistics for Development (I-BUILD) component are covered by these approved funding.

Among these are the Php618.6 million construction of Tablon-Cagmanaba FMR with five units bridges in Oas, Albay and the concreting of FMRs in municipalities of Paracale, Basud and Sta. Elena -- all of Camarines Norte amounting to Php413.8 million.

Apart from these, the RPAB also endorsed for funding seven I-BUILD subprojects worth a total of Php452 million for the municipalities of Pamplona, Del Gallego, Pasacao, Libmanan, Sipocot and Ragay—all in Camarines Sur.

The PRAB is the body that provides guidance, reviews and approves undertakings for funding under PRDP, a six-year rural development project worth over Php27.5 billion funded through a loan from World Bank amounting to Php20.56 billion and Php7 billion counterparts from the Philippine government and local government units (LGUs).

In six years — 2013-2019 - PRDP aims to transform the rural areas in Bicol into dynamic and competent growth points for agricultural development as the national government pursues inclusive growth that should be felt down by the remotest and smallest rural barangays.

De los Santos said these approved subprojects are the first batch of proposals submitted by the Provincial Project Management and Implementation Units (PPMIUs) in Bicol for 2015-2016.

She lauded the PPMIUs of the provinces for their hard work and expressed her gratitude to the RPAB for approving all the proposed sub-projects which are products of the advisory board’s knowledge about the PRDP process and its advantages to the farmers and fisherfolk.

The board is composed, among others, of DA Bicol Regional Executive Bicol Abelardo Bragas as chairman and a representative of the League of Provinces in the region as vice-chair.

The approved sub-projects are now with the Project Support Office (PSO) South Luzon of PRDP for issuance of No Objection Letter 1 (NOL-1).

She said Bicol, which boasts of the largest agricultural area among the country’s 17 regions, was awarded last year the largest share of farm support infrastructure projects under the PRDP’s I-BUILD component worth over Php600 million.

The DA-PRDP I-BUILD sub-project portfolio has secured a Php11.382-billion in nationwide funding to finance production, marketing and logistics support for farmers and fishers in the countryside. (PNA) LAP/FGS/DOC/CBD/EDS