• WBG launches Bicol rural devt projects

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    The World Bank Group (WBG) is set to launch this week over P1.2 billion worth of rural infrastructure projects in the Bicol Region in line with the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).

    With the Department of Agriculture (DA) as the lead implementing agency, the PRDP is currently the biggest government project supported by the WBG under its new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) endorsed by the Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors this year.

    The $508.25-million project aims to improve the productivity of small farmers and fisherfolk and expand their access to markets.

    The PRDP will provide farm-to-market roads as well as livelihood projects for farmers and fisherfolk in the Bicol Region. The municipalities that will directly benefit from these farm-to-market roads include Basud, Jose Panganiban, Libmanan, Mercedes, Oas, Pasacao, Sipocot, and Sta. Elena.

    “With our support of PRDP we want to demonstrate our commitment to support government efforts that directly help the rural poor, including those in the Bicol Region,” said World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi in a statement.

    “The project will encourage farmers and fisherfolk to increase and diversify production and to engage in value-adding activities that can increase their income. Investments in rural infrastructure will benefit Bicolano producers, traders, and the rural population through better transport infrastructure, reduced travel time, and improved access to markets,” Konishi added.

    He said the World Bank is also set to prioritize projects aimed at improving elementary education in the Bicol Region pursuant to the CPS.

    “Currently under implementation here in Bicol Region is the Learning, Equity, and Accountability Program Support Project, a new $300 million nationwide project designed to improve the basic skills of students in reading and mathematics,” said Maribelle Zonaga, World Bank Senior Country Operations Officer.

    “This complements existing programs on education and health here in the region—the Pantawid Pamilya that provides incentives for families to keep their children in school and have regular health checks,” Zonaga added.

    She said that the Bank Group, under its new CPS, will support government projects in the areas of transparent and accountable governance, including strengthening public financial management, improving fiscal transparency and financial accountability, and supporting greater demand from citizens for government accountability.

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