• 3 Bicol provinces get P600M for infra

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    NAGA CITY: Three Bicol provinces are among the recipients of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) P11.382-billion nationwide rural infrastructure development program.

    Elena De Los Santos, DA Bicol regional technical director for operations, said Albay and the two Camarines provinces are beneficiaries of infrastructure projects worth more than P600 million.

    The DA and World Bank, the funding agency, conducted on Tuesday a review meeting at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management Convention Hall in Quezon City, she added.

    De Los Santos said the infrastructure projects are mostly farm-to-market roads, of which more than P197 million went to Albay; and more than P200 million each for the two Camarines provinces.

    She said all the projects have been bidded out and these have been given a “no objection letter,” which means that they are just waiting for the release of funds under the  Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

    Arnel De Mesa, PRDP national deputy program director, said in a statement that the P11.382-billion projects include production, marketing and logistics support for farmers and fisherfolk in the countryside.

    “The amount covers rural infrastructure projects and marketing and technical assistance for rural agri-producers, processors and traders proposed by local government units,” De Mesa said.

    He said that for the project’s first year, July 2014 to June 2015, there were 66 provinces included as of December 2014.

    Of these provinces, 29 submitted their own Provincial Commodity Investment Plan (PCIP), which was approved by their respective Provincial Development Councils.

    The PCIP refers to provincial plans that provide for “primary outputs geared toward enhanced agri-fishery modernization plans” based on the Agriculture and Fishery Modernization Plan of the national government.

    De Mesa said the national government and the World Bank signed the PRDP’s P27.6-billion loan-and-grant agreement on Sept. 9, 2014. This was declared effective and ready for loan drawdowns in early December 2014.

    He said that through the PRDP, the national government has received project proposals from LGUs totaling P9.7 billion for the construction and rehabilitation of 1,121 kilometers of farm-to-market roads in different parts of the country.

    De Mesa said the provision of funds also included 31 projects worth P361.84 million for market assistance, capability building, technology development, and production and post-harvest support, among others.

    He said the review mission with the World Bank this year aims to look into the progress pace of the rural development project, as well as problems and issues that affect its implementation.

    De Los Santos said the World Bank will undertake the review and evaluation of the PRDP in Bicol on Feb. 2-4.

    According to PRDP documents, it is targeted that upon project completion the household beneficiaries would at least achieve five-percent increase in annual real farm incomes, seven-percent increase in value of annual marketed output, and 20-percent increase in the number of farmers and fisherfolk with improved access to DA services.

    PNA

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