LEGASPI CITY – The Bicol Regional Project Advisory Board (RPAB) approved and endorsed four LGU-proposed infrastructure subprojects worth P412,730,355.89 for funding under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) during the RPAB meeting held in this city on October 27, 2023.

Three subprojects, namely the construction of Maysua to Balinad Farm-to-Market Road (FMR) in Polangui, Albay; rehabilitation of Iriga City AA Abattoir in Cam. Sur; and Vinzons slaughterhouse in Cam. Norte are being proposed under the PRDP Scale Up. While the establishment of Pili Abattoir in Camarines Sur  is under the second additional financing.

The four infra projects are under the PRDP component Intensified Building Up of Infrastructure and Logistics for Development (I-BUILD).

The Local Government Unit (LGU) of Polangui, Albay proposed for the construction of Maysua to Balinad Farm-to-Market Road (FMR). According to Mayor Adrian Salceda who personally presented the proposal before the RPAB members, the 8.5-kilometer FMR worth P275,101,164.30`will traverse Barangay Maysua and Balaba, Sitio Maylangka, Cotmon and Sitio Garayon and Sitio Hacienda Mandarietta of Barangay Balinad. Mayor Salceda emphasized that the FMR will reduce the hauling and transport cost of farm produce by at least 50%; reduce postharvest losses in agricultural crops; and reduce the travel time of commuters by one (1) hour.

The LGU of Iriga City, Camarines Sur proposed for the Upgrading and Rehabilitation of its AA Abattoir located in Bgy. Sta. Cruz,  amounting to P 54,555,501.52. Dr. Mark Badiola, city veterinarian said that the project would help maintain and sustain the required standards set by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) in order to maximize the premium quality native cattle and beef and other meat products that can be shipped out of the city as frozen meat instead of live animals. It will also provide the consumers with clean, fresh and quality meat (carcass) in compliance with hygienic slaughtering stipulated in RA 10611, the Food Safety Act).

The LGU of Pili, Camarines Sur proposed for the establishment of Pili Abattoir in barangay San Isidro also worth P 49,351,073.93. Municipal Agriculturist Arvin Salvino said that the goal is to maximize the production of premium quality swine, cattle and other meat products; facilitate ease in carcass traceability; and triple the hog production in Pili in 2024. Salvino also disclosed that the construction of the new Pili Public Market is underway. The project worth P240M is a grant, together with P37 M fund for the construction of the meat section.

Meanwhile, the LGU of Vinzons also proposed for the establishment of a slaughterhouse in Bgy. Calangcawan Norte worth P 33,722,616.14. Engr. Wilner Ferrer who presented the proposal said that the absence of a slaughterhouse in their town constrains the trade of livestock products to a small local market in the community.

Dr. Alex Templonuevo, Regional Director of NMIS fully supported the three slaughterhouse subprojects as he said that Pili and Iriga City can be potential large-scale producers of meat to satisfy the demand of the large shopping malls in nearby Naga City.

Adelina A. Losa, PRDP RPCO 5 Deputy Project Director presided over the RPAB meeting which was attended by RPAB members from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR),  Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Regional Agriculture and Fishery Council (RAFC) Chairperson Bernadette delos Santos.The RPAB which is headed by DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla, is composed of Regional Directors of the different government agencies that provide guidance to the RPCO, review and approve subpropjects for funding.

PRDP is a World Bank- supported special project of the Department of Agriculture. Since it started in Bicol in 2014, a total of 80 sub-projects were funded – 43 subprojects were completed and two projects were canceled under the Original Loan which ended in 2022; four (4) sub-projects were completed under the First Additional Financing (2018-2022); and two sub-projects were already completed under the Second Additional Financing (AF2) approved in 2022  which extended the PRDP implementation until 2025. Under the AF2, 26 sub-projects are ongoing, two are under procurement and one was canceled.

The PRDP Scale-Up will further extend the project up to 2029. (Lovella P. Guarin –Info ACE | photo credit: Eduardo Collantes, Jr.)