GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 25 June) – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has approved the funding and implementation of 36 additional farm-to-market road projects worth around P303 million in various parts of South Cotabato.
Francisco Domingo, acting head of the South Cotabato Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, said in a statement that the road projects were mainly aimed to complement the continuing expansion of agricultural production areas and improve the movement of farm products to various markets in the province.
He said the projects will be funded through the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB) scheme and the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program of the national government.
Citing a report released by DA Region 12, he said the area’s funding support has increased by about 210 percent this year with the entry of the additional allocation from the GPB and PAMANA.
In the last three years, he said records showed that the agency’s allocation for the province has increased significantly.
In 2012, the province only received an allocation of P38.1 million from DA-12’s regular budget for six farm-to-market roads.
Three of these projects, which were implemented in the municipalities of Banga, T’boli and Lake Sebu, were already completed.
The remaining three projects, which are located in the municipalities of Norala and Tupi and in this city, are now in the final stages of construction.
In 2013, the province received a budget of P59 million for the implementation of 10 road projects, which are now about 57 percent complete.
Domingo said that of the P303.2 million allocation for this year, P183 million will be sourced from DA-12’s regular budget.
He said it will fund the implementation of 21 farm-to-market road projects starting next month in the first and second congressional districts of the province.
The official said the GPB component of P74.1 million will be utilized for the construction of 15 road projects while the PAMANA component of P103.1 million will be used for three more major initiatives.
Engr. Norberto Leysa, South Cotabato agricultural program coordinating officer, assured that all these projects adhere to the standards set by the national government, specifically the Department of Public Works and Highways.