“You’re one of the few Projects in World Bank that has my confidence. Social and environmental safeguards set the standard for what an international agency should be… and you are able to meet that.” This is how World Bank Social Safeguards Specialist Mavi Ladia described her general findings about the resettlement of Project Affected Persons (PAPs) for the Concreting of Manangle-Caima Farm-toMarket Road (FMR) in Sipocot, Camarines Sur.

Ladia, together with Social and Environmental Safeguards (SES) unit teams from the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) National Office headed by Angelita Martir and Project Support Office South Luzon led by Ma. Iris Millendez, were in Bicol on August 15-17 for the World Bank Review Mission to Infrastructure Development (I-BUILD) Subproject in Camarines Sur. 

 

The review mission kicked off with a dinner meeting on August 15 followed by a site visit in Brgy. Manangle in Sipocot on August 16. Ladia, along with the SES teams and all Project stakeholders from both the provincial local government unit of Camarines Sur and municipal local government unit of Sipocot conducted a series of focus group discussions with PAPs to look at the relocation, grievance redress mechanism, labor influx and emerging community benefit aspects of the I-BUILD subproject implementation.

The review mission was capped with an exit conference held in Pili, Camarines Sur on August 17.

SES is one of PRDP’s project support units mandated to identify, prevent and mitigate harm to communities or people and the environment along subproject areas. One of the environmental and social standards that PRDP SES unit adopts is the Land Acquisition and Resettlement Framework designed to ensure the proper and just compensation for all involuntary losses of PAPs. The said framework also guarantees that people displaced because of developmental projects are resettled and provided with assistance to improve or at least maintain their pre-Project living conditions.

According to Ladia, among all PRDP subprojects nationwide, the Concreting of Manangle-Caima FMR has the most number of Project Affected Persons (PAPs) relocated. Fifteen families were relocated to the 6,955 square-meter resettlement site provided by the municipal local government unit (MLGU) of Sipocot in Brgy. Manangle Sipocot, Camarines Sur. The MLGU also provided each household with 10 galvanized iron sheets, one unit water seal toilet bowls and two sacks of cement. Meanwhile, they received a total of P484,680-worth financial compensation according to their dwelling classification from the provincial local government unit (PLGU) of Camarines Sur.

The project collaborators also facilitated the establishment of electrical and lighting facilities, potable water system and conduct of trainings on vegetable gardening in the relocated community. They also received grafted pili seedlings, mahogany seedlings and vegetable seeds.

Emerlinda Naje, barangay councilor assigned in the resettlement site, said: “Ako po naoogma ta yaon po an saindang pagkasararo, kooperasyon sa lambang saro. Nagrarabos po kami sa tubig po dyan naayos mi po. Naoogma po kaming marhay ta an gabos po nasuportahan man po (I am very glad because I have witnessed their unity and cooperation. As a group, we initiated the establishment of potable water. We are very happy because we received all the support needed by the community).
“With regard to relocation, the worst is through. Tapos na yung hardwork ninyo (You’re done with the hardwork) on relocating the affected persons. There are just a few more things that we need to do,” Ladia said.

PRDP Bicol Deputy Project Director Adelina Losa expressed hopes that the project implementers will not break the World Bank’s trust. She also assured the contractor and the Provincial Project Management and Implementing Unit (PPMIU) of Camarines Sur of the PRDP-Bicol’s open and regular communication as well as full support and commitment.
PPMIU Head Renz Gonzalo Refe thanked the WB and the project collaborators for the experiences gained through PRDP that equipped them in doing other national projects. He also acknowledged the efforts given by the PRDP teams from the national, cluster and regional levels to guide them in achieving their mutual goal to develop the province’s agri-fishery sector. 
“We have noted that you have come so far from your beginning. Sipocot is one of the first subprojects approved under PRDP and so it was a learning process for all of us and it is special because of this full resettlement that you were able to really pull through… Let us continue to adhere to the Safeguards Framework of the Project… Let’s hold on to what we have learned and apply them in the future,” Millendez said.

With a physical accomplishment of 4.64 percent as of July 31, 2017, the 19.15- kilometer Concreting of Manangle to Caima FMR is projected to benefit 6,691 population and 1,437 households. The P131.03 million-worth FMR subproject will boost the rice, corn, coconut and vegetable production in seven barangays along the road influence area namely Manangle, Bulawan, Bulawan Jr., a barangay of the neighboring municipality of Lupi, Gabi, Carayrayan, Binahian, and Caima in Sipocot, Camarines Sur. “We raise the expectation of the people by starting the implementation work so let’s not fail them,” Ladia underscored. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-PRDP RPCO V InfoACE Unit)