• NEDA board approves DA flagship project extension

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    The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) board of directors approved the extension of the Department of Agriculture’s World Bank-assisted flagship project to increase the funding requirement for rural development programs nationwide.

    In a statement, DA Undersecretary for Operations and Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) National Project Director Ariel Cayanan said the approval of the additional $450-million (P20.9-billion) loan for the PRDP will primarily address the current P19.18-billion World Bank loan proceeds shortage for the project’s rural infrastructure development portfolio.

    PRDP is a flagship platform for modern, inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-resilient agri-fisheries development.

    In the pipeline are subproject proposals that have already complied with the PRDP’s requirements such as feasibility study, detailed engineering design, program of work, and social and environmental safeguards instruments.

    The PRDP projects that loan proceeds for infrastructure would be fully committed in 2016, fully obligated by December 2016 and fully disbursed by June 2019.

    Cayanan said that without assured available funding from the national government after this year, the project can no longer commit to fund the rest of the infrastructure subproject proposals already in the pipeline.

    Expanding reforms

    But according to PRDP management, on top of accommodating proposals and reaching more communities to benefit from the project’s infrastructure and enterprise development interventions, the proposed expansion also means partnering with and influencing more local government units (LGUs).

    “This means expanding our reach and consolidating institutional reforms being introduced by the project. Expanding the PRDP means expanding reforms that we have been advocating within and outside the Department,” Cayanan said.

    Arnel de Mesa, the project’s National Deputy Project Director, meanwhile, said that the proposed expansion will
    sustain the commitment of LGUs to execute these reforms.

    “The LGUs will do reforms together with the DA and the PRDP will be the instrument to do these,” de Mesa said.

    He also stressed that it is through the PRDP that commitments from LGUs can be further secured to advance the cause for good governance and transparency as it presents empirical examples such as the use of applied geotagging technology in monitoring.

    “We can [vigorously]innovate and propose changes because of the PRDP,” de Mesa added.

    With NEDA’s final nod, the PRDP is now complying with other government required documents and outputs for the DA to finally proceed to negotiate with the World Bank next year.

    The DA targets to secure the Workd Bank Board’s approval of the proposed expansion in July 2017.

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