Mindanao gets P12-B for rural development projects

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / Mindanao has received around P12 billion from the World Bank’s Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) for infrastructure projects this year to assist farmers develop commodities and to provide farm-to-market roads.

The amount is more than half of PRDP’s P20.26 billion loan by the national government from the World Bank.

During the press conference held at the second day of 2nd World Bank Mission on Friday, PRDP national deputy director Engr. Arnel de Mesa said at least P6.05 billion worth of projects had been approved as of March 30, 2016 and another P6 billion are in the pipeline.

“Most of the infrastructure projects are farm-to-market roads,” he said.

Of the approved infrastructure projects, Region 9  or Zamboanga Peninsula gets P1.352 billion; Region 10 or Northern Mindanao gets P1.462 billion; Region 1 or Davao Region, with P1.109 billion; Region 12 or Southwestern Mindanao with P1.003 billion; Region 13, or Caraga with P966 million; and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with P164 million.

ARMM is the poorest region in the entire country with a poverty incidence of 59% among population, according to the 1st Semester Poverty Incidence Among Population. Caraga’s poverty incidence is 43.9%.

He said PRDP projects are implemented based on the demand of the local government units (LGUs) that propose what kind of infrastructure projects they want funded.

He said the PRDP is closely working with the Development of Agriculture (DA), as the lead implementing agency, to determine what projects can be financed that will have an immediate contribution to the development of commodities.

PRDP road programs include financing barangay, municipal, and provincial roads, including even the rehabilitation of roads that will spur the development of the farmers who seek intervention for market access.

He noted that PRDP has also P400 million approved projects for enterprise development, on top of the funding for infrastructure projects.

Before the project implementation, de Mesa said they will undergo the project proponents in a series of activities and identify what particular commodity in the region will have a comparative advantage.

A value chain analysis, vulnerability and suitability assessment tools, and geo-tagging will be employed as empirical basis to PRDP interventions, he said.

“After that, we will undergo value chain analysis study to determine who are the players, what are the stakeholder gaps and constraints impeding the development of the commodity; and what are the issues. When these gaps, constraints, and issues are identified, then it will now be the basis for a province or city to craft a Provincial/City Commodity Investment Plan that details the interventions or activities to address them,” he said.

He said those LGUs who take the time to craft proposals will most likely get their projects approved “based on the technical soundness.”

The World Bank held the Second Review Mission for PRDP in Mindanao in Davao City on April 7 to 8, 2016 to “look into the planned, proposed and ongoing implementation of the various project components including infrastructure, enterprise development, planning and support to implementation.”

De Mesa noted a surge in the projects submitted to PRDP, most especially in Mindanao since the first World Bank mission in August 2015.

“Since the first review mission, 26 provinces or 100 percent of provincial local government units (PLGUs), and other five local governemnt units (Mindanao) already entered into memorandum of agreement with the DA,” the press briefer stated.

De Mesa said the PRDP programs are covered by a loan and agreement which the Philippines signed with the World Bank. The next administration is expected to honor the projects lined up for implementation.

PRDP, a six-year special program focused on establishing a modern, value chain oriented, and climate-resilient agriculture and fisheries sector, is jointly funded by World Bank and national government with counterparts from the local government units and cooperatives. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)