January 25, 2017

A grievance and inquiry letter was written by Councilor Ruel A. Nael of Mercedes, Camarines Norte and signed by 13 barangay captains of Basud and Mercedes, Camarines Norte expressing concern and queries about the status of the 21.15-kilometer Concreting of Pinagwarasan to Lanot Farm-to-Market Road in Basud and Mercedes, Camarines Norte.

Upon receipt of the letter, the PRDP South Luzon and PRDP-Bicol called for a management meeting with their local partners in Camarines Norte and other stakeholders involved in the farm-to-market road sub-project, particularly the 13 barangay captains concerned.

At the Management Meeting presided by Provincial Project Management and Implementation Unit Head Elena B. Austria and attended by the newly-reinstated Governor Edgardo A. Tallado in Daet, Camarines Norte on January 23, 2017, PRDP South Luzon Director Shandy M. Hubilla and the PRDP infrastructure development (I-BUILD) team enlightened the stakeholders about the real status of the sub-project and clarified the issues raised by the concerned barangay and local officials.

The PRDP team provided a detailed discussion of the project’s milestones from the Regional Project Advisory Board’s (RPAB) approval on July 30, 2014 to the Sub-Project Validation and Inspection conducted by the I–BUILD team on January 19, 2017. They also explained the factors which affected the progress of the said sub-project’s implementation such as peace and order, variation orders and severe weather conditions. Moreover, they guaranteed their immediate actions to address pressing challenges cited in the grievance letter. The construction of the Pinagwarasan to Lanot Road commenced on February 29, 2016 however, the contractor requested for suspension orders thrice due to the aforementioned reasons. Per PRDP-Bicol’s Monitoring and Evaluation report as of December 29, 2016, the Project has an actual physical accomplishment of 11.58 percent.

Satisfied with the answers given to his constituents, Nael, who chairs Mercedes’ Committee on Agriculture, expressed his hope that the PRDP-funded sub-project will be completed soon to boost the agri-fishery sector in his municipality and provide the rural community with better access to social services.

“Inaasahan ko na magawa na sa lalong madaling panahon yung mga pinag-usapan para may mabilis na aksyon nang yung mga kalakal na galing sa mga barangay madala na sa bayan nang fresh pa at para kapag may emergency, madali na silang makakarating sa mga ospital,” Nael said.

 

PRDP encourages strong community participation in project implementation thus, the Project’s Social and Environmental Safeguards (SES) Unit actively employs a grievance redress mechanism (GRM) to seek feedback from beneficiaries and resolve complaints on project activities and performance.

Considered an integral project management element, GRM posters with hotline numbers and electronic mail address of the region’s GRM Focal Person are placed in conspicuous areas within the project site for concerned citizens to lodge their queries and complaints. PRDP guarantees stakeholders that they will receive a confirmation upon receipt of queries, complaints and reactions and will be updated about its status.

The PRDP-GRM is designed to resolve beneficiaries’ grievances and respond to their needs. It is also intended to serve as a conduit for soliciting inquiries, inviting suggestions, and increasing community participation as well as gathering information that can be used to upgrade operational performance. In addition, the GRM was created to enhance the project’s legitimacy among stakeholders, promote transparency and accountability and deter fraud and corruption and mitigate project risks. These are achieved by providing the stakeholders, especially those with feedback or complaints, with an access to PRDP sub-projects’ status or activities during pre-implementation, implementation and operation phases and draw resolution on a timely manner.

On his part, Hubilla said that the PRDP South Luzon will send a reply to answer each query and respond to the issues raised by the local officials. He added that the management meeting had been a good venue to clarify roles and responsibilities for a more effective and efficient Project implementation in Camarines Norte.

“With or without grievance, we have to be on the look out on important issues and concerns,” he furthered. The Concreting of Pinagwarasan to Lanot Farm-to-Market Road is a P212.5 million-worth farm-to-market road projected to benefit 17,563 population in Basud and Mercedes, Camarines Norte. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-PRDP RPCO V InfoACE Unit)