The entry of COVID-19 in the country has been a great challenge for the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) to maintain and monitor subprojects from different provinces. To protect  its  staff  from being infected by the virus, the management decided to create a skeleton work force consisting 25% of the hired personnel while others were instructed to work from home provided that they submit their weekly accomplishments.

With the restrictions implemented under the Bayanihan Act to contain the spread of the virus, activities and construction of all the PRDP’s on-going projects were  forced to stop in compliance with the law, making it difficult to consolidate all the documents needed for the disbursement report.

But despite the COVID threat, and restricted movement PRDP South Luzon was able to disburse a total of P106.88 million of which 86% or 92.39 million were contributed by Bicol, exceeding its target for the month of April by 23.63 million or 34%.

PRDP Bicol did not feel discourage to accomplish  its targets even during the Enhance Community Quarantine (ECQ). It found  ways to communicate with the LGUs and contractors using social media and online conferencing to monitor their commitments, particularly on disbursement. The  Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) identification cards were issued to technical staff and skeleton  work force to enable them to work at the office and assist the LGUs in facilitating their billing documents. 

The Local Government Units (LGUs) and contractors also showed their active  cooperation to fast-track the billing documents to compensate the workers during the ECQ period.

Contractors also requested for an IATF ID so they can resume their construction to keep up with their work schedule, provided that they follow the protocols of the Department of Health (DOH) to prevent  the spread of corona virus.

At present, Bicol is under  General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and PRDPs Rural Infrastructure Engineers (RIEs) are now allowed to travel to conduct site visit, monitoring and inspection for the on-going subprojects.

With the close  supervision of the component and unit heads and teamwork of the PRDP Bicol team they were able to deliver good  performance despite the COVID threat in the region in line with its goal of  implementing   quality and resilient projects that can enable communities and expand opportunities.  (Michelle Angela G. Alfigura, DA-PRDP RPCO 5 InfoACE Unit)