SoCot LGU to push agriculture thru MRDP

Under the program, the provincial government was mandated to finance at least 30 percent of the required funding for the projects that would be implemented under the MRDP in the province.

“Our position is very consistent that we are very much willing to share responsibility or put up our counterpart for the implementation of any development program in the province,” Fuentes said.

Board member Dardanilo Dar, chair of the infrastructure committee, said the province will focus on building up its infrastructure capability through the MRDP.

Among the projects proposed for funding under the program are the construction of new farm-to-market roads and the rehabilitation of several road networks.

He said most of the proposed infrastructure projects would be implemented in the seven municipalities that would later be identified by the provincial government as primary beneficiaries.

"We cannot pass up this rare opportunity to get a major infrastructure project by just spending for 30 percent of the actual cost," Dar said.

The provincial board’s endorsement, which was issued through a resolution, was among the requirements earlier sought by DA to formalize the province’s participation in the MRDP-Adaptable Program Loan 2 that has a funding of some US$120 million.

The Provincial Development Council (PDC) earlier passed a resolution endorsing the program.

The MRDP is a 12-year poverty reduction program that provides interventions to increase productivity and income of marginal and landless farmers and fisherfolk.

It is aimed at improving the agriculture sector in the five provinces by constructing farm-to-market roads, water supply and irrigation facilities by setting aside a community fund for coastal and marine biodiversity conservation.

"The MRDP is in consonance with the province's over-all goals on poverty reduction, agricultural productivity, environmental protection and conservation," Fuentes said.

Caroline Geron, World Bank task team leader, earlier said MRDP's second phase will focus on helping poor residents gain sustainable livelihood opportunities and improve food security in the island.

In a dialogue with prospective beneficiaries in the province, Geron said the program will also help strengthen the implementation of the Local Government Code and the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act.

She added that the primary beneficiaries of the program would be the marginalized agricultural, fisherfolk and indigenous peoples' communities.