DA launches 2nd phase of Mindanao’s rural dev’t program

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said DA officials notified the provincial government that the World Bank has given its go-signal to start the program's implementation in at least 25 provinces in Mindanao (Shariff Kabungsuan recently became the 26th Mindanao province).

The program, dubbed MRDP–Adaptable Program Loan 2 (MRDP-APL2), would reportedly cover at least 225 municipalities in Mindanao.

“Seven municipalities in the province have been identified as beneficiaries of the program," she said.

The program, which would be spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture (DA), will run from 2007 to 2010, with the provincial and municipal governments as implementing agencies.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) grant or component of this program amounts to US$7 million.

Fuentes said the province’s inclusion in the program’s second phase is a big break as it would augment the local government's socio-economic programs.

The program was designed as a poverty reduction intervention for the rural poor and indigenous peoples communities of Mindanao in four phases. It provides an opportunity to reinforce the Local Government Code and the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act.

Fuentes said the local government may learn how to formulate on the local level a manner of delivering such program, which in a way will become a tool for transformation of local communities.

MRDP-APL2 aims to improve income, food security and environmental integrity in the targeted agricultural and fisher folk communities and municipalities within the 25 provinces.

It also seeks to conserve and rehabilitate the coastal and terrestrial ecosystems in the globally and locally significant coastal and terrestrial ecosystems.

The MRDP–APL 2 will focus on four components: institutional strengthening and capability building for decentralized services, rural infrastructure, community fund for agricultural development and natural resource management.

The rural infrastructure component aims to contribute to the over-all program purpose of improved income, food security and environmental integrity in the targeted communities within the 25 provinces of Mindanao through the provisions of infrastructure projects and capability-building for the local governments on subproject planning implementation and operation.

The types of infrastructure supported by the program are farm-to-market roads, communal irrigation systems, potable water supply systems, and other rural infrastructure sub-projects.

The cost sharing between the national government and local government unit for a project was set at a maximum of 50 percent grant assistance and with a maximum of 20 percent of the total project cost to be reimbursed to the participating LGU depending on their compliance to the agreed governance reforms. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)