PRDP: Projects of 1st time applicants will be priority

LOCAL government units (LGUs) in Mindanao that are first time applicants of the Philippine Rural Development Projects (PRDP) are expected to have their projects funded by the $170 million from the World Bank (WB).

With the funding for their projects, these LGUs will be able to help their constituents increase their incomes.

In a press statement released this week, Ricardo M. Oñate. Jr., PRDP-Mindanao director, said that the additional funding will allow Mindanao to intensify its initiative for rural development with the implementation of these new projects, although he did not mention how much funding does Mindanao need to implement these new projects.

“Aside from our current portfolio of P6.14 billion of combined agri-enterprises and infrastructure under PRDP, we still have a lot of project proposals waiting to be funded, so we take full advantage of this opportunity,” said Oñate.

The P6.14 billion funding is Mindanao’s share of the initial P27 billion funding for the project.

Based on the information from the PRDP-Mindanao Office, among the projects submitted are communal irrigation systems, a potable water supply, a slope protection, warehouses and green house projects.

These projects will also undergo prioritization criteria that include whether the proposals are identified in the commodity action plan of the proposing LGU, whether the LGU has a good standing in relation to implementation of projects, whether the proponent complies with the requirements of specific engineering designs, geotagging and other documentations.

In its recent report, PRDP said of the amount that it got from the national project, about P5.77-billion was set aside for infrastructure development for 117.46 kilometers of 40 farm-to-market roads and a 69-linear meter bridge, two potable water systems for 1,266 households, and three postharvest facilities for about 3,000 hectares of farms.

Enterprise development, on the other hand, got about P365.07 million for 77 projects.

Oñate said that Mindanao’s current standing is “significantly contributing to the ‘Build, Build, Build program of the Duterte administration where we provide connectivity and road network access to remote but productive villages in Mindanao.”

The Philippine government sought for additional funding from the international bank after the initial P27 billion was exhausted with Mindanao getting a huge portion of the budget even when the predecessor of the project, the Mindanao Rural Development Program, was first implemented in the island in two phases that run for seven years.

Started in 2014, the six-year project implemented in a national scale following the onslaught typhoon Yolanda in November 2013 to help those that were devastated by the disaster.

In a statement released after the approval of the additional financing, Mara K. Warwick, World Bank country director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand, said the bank decided to set aside additional fund for the project because it is considered “one of the most innovative projects of the Philippines.”

“The practice of the Department of Agriculture preparing provincial commodity investment plans together with local governments have empowered local executives to mobilize additional resources and bring in programs of other government agencies,” said Ms. Warwick, adding that the project “helps to consolidate and efficiently plan programs and activities that alleviate poverty in rural areas.”

Replicating the good practices in the implementation of its predecessor in Mindanao, the project has adopted key strategies that have ensured that funds are not wasted, among them the geotagging strategy which identifies the actual location of a project in real time so that implementation can monitored.

A project cannot also be implemented unless the proponent undertakes a value chain analysis of the identified commodity that will benefit from the implementation.

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