For three years of pre-implementation of the Albay Coco Geonets Manufacturing Project, Tunay Tapat Lahing Pilipino Cooperative Chairman Josias Pedrocello faced the challenge of explaining to his members that the project is real and is worth the wait.
“Karamihan sa mga kasamahan namin nagduwa-duwa na pero walang dahilan para mag-quit (Most of our members are having second thoughts but there is no reason for us to quit),” he thought. Pedrocello is the chairman of the proponent group that will benefit from the Philippine Rural Development Project’s (PRDP) pilot enterprise development (I-REAP) subproject in Bicol—the P7.68 million-worth Albay Coco Geonets Manufacturing Enterprise in Libon, Albay.
The subproject will be implemented as a community-based enterprise wherein manufacturing process shall be undertaken by rural women and farm families in the community. It will also engage coconut farmers in 30 barangays of the municipality as source of raw materials and labor providers. The enterprise is projected to generate at least 900 new jobs for TTLPC members and the community as direct and indirect workers with an additional or potential daily wage worth P75 to P250. The I-REAP subproject will also supplement the income of 1,100 coconut farmers who will supply husks to the enterprise.
After the Pre-Construction Conference for the 150-square-meter coco geonets processing warehouse worth P1.88 million on March 16, 2017, Pedrocello is confident that finally, the TTLPC members and the community in Libon will have a tangible proof of the government’s support to the project.
“Ito na talaga ang pighalat na maumpisahan. Sa wakas maipapaabot mi sainda na matutuloy ang programa na ito (We have been waiting for the start of this project. Finally, we can relay to them [the community] that the government will push through the project,” Pedrocello said.
While waiting for the I-REAP subproject’s approval, TTLPC conducted a dry-run operation of the enterprise and started planting coconut trees. In 2014, they also built a temporary warehouse. However, it was damaged by typhoon Nina which devastated Albay, Camarines Sur and Catanduanes on December 25, 2016.
Pedrocello said that the coco geonets manufacturing warehouse will be very beneficial to TTLPC. The warehouse to be constructed in Sitio La Medalla, Libon, Albay will feature an office space and a stockroom. It is also designed to reduce product spoilage, prevent the deterioration of the machine and secure the decorticating machine, twining machines, sieving machine, weaving machine, and heavy duty weighing scale.
Rafaelita Nicoleta, I-REAP Component Head of the Provincial Project Management and Implementation Unit (PPMIU) in Albay, also expressed her gratitude to the Project.
“At least we could show to the proponent group that the project is a reality to help the poor at the barangay level. I am so positive that our objective to increase by five percent the proponent group’s income will be realized and of course, income of the farmers will be also increased,” she said.
Sherryl Balinquit of ALXM Construction, the winning bidder for the project, assured the Management and the beneficiaries that the contractor will do the best to fully and validly comply with the Project design and documentary requirements.
The Albay Coco Geonets Manufacturing Enterprise is Bicol’s first I-REAP subproject to receive No Objection Letters 1 and 2 (Notice to proceed with procurement and with construction). (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-PRDP RPCO V InfoACE Unit)