Processing unit for PDRP projects under study

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 January) — In a bid to fast track the implementation of projects under its flagship Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP), the Department of Agriculture (DA) is planning to establish a special processing unit for the initiative.

Agriculture Undersecretary Emerson Palad, PRDP national project director, said they are currently studying the mechanisms for the proposed special unit, which will mainly handle the processing of requirements for sub-projects that will be covered by the program.

“We’re looking at creating a separate processing unit in the central office that will have a dedicated staff who will exclusively cater to PRDP projects,” he said in a press conference here on Monday afternoon.

Palad, who was here for the Mindanao leg of the World Bank’s review mission for the PRDP, said the bank already endorsed the move as a strategy to further fast track the implementation of the P27.5 billion program.

The official said they pushed for the creation of the special unit to help speed up the processing and approval of various requirements involving PRDP projects.

He said the move is also aimed to facilitate the early release of funds and the implementation of the projects.

Palad acknowledged that a number of projects have been facing delay in terms of implementation due to the failure of their proponent local government units in complying with the requirements.

He said among them was the municipal government of Isulan in Sultan Kudarat province, which proposed for nine farm-to-market road projects worth around P213 million.

Isulan officials earlier said it took them about year to comply with the requirements of their sub-projects that included detailed engineering designs, feasibility studies as well as social and environmental impact studies.

“We’re hoping to address these concerns with the establishment and activation of the proposed processing unit,” he said.

Palad said they are presently waiting for the completion of the DA’s rationalization program to allow the proper assignment of personnel to the new unit.

He said the implementation of the plan is currently ongoing and they are specifically filling up vacancies in the agency’s major unit with regular workers.

“Once the rationalization is complete, we immediately handpick the personnel who will be assigned to the PPRDP unit,” he added. (MindaNews)