LEGAZPI CITY, ALBAY – Bicol is the biggest contributor to the number of completed infrastructure development (I-BUILD) subprojects completed in South Luzon compared from the previous World Bank (WB) Review Mission.
Bicol’s completed I-BUILD portfolio cost for 2019 rose from P54.74 billion to P347.32 billion with seven completed I-BUILD subprojects as of May 24, 2019. This is 534 percent higher than the previous WB Review Mission held in November 2018 in Batangas.

This was announced by Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) Project Support Office (PSO) South Luzon Deputy Project Director Shandy Hubilla during the 8th World Bank Implementation Support Mission to South Luzon Cluster Plenary held on June 1, 2019, this city.

Hubilla also lauded Bicol for its consistency on both physical and financial progress indicators. Bicol ranked first clusterwide in terms of physical and financial I-BUILD implementation progress with 54 and 52 percent accomplishment, respectively. 
With 14 completed enterprise development (I-REAP) subprojects, Bicol has the most number of completed enterprises amounting to P21.23 million and the biggest financial accomplishment progress at 56 percent. 
In terms of Planning at the Local and National Levels (I-PLAN) Commodity Investment Plan (CIP) convergence initiatives, Bicol has the highest funded and approved non-PRDP projects from CIPs at P1.51 million.

Bicol’s Value Chain Analysis (VCA) and Provincial Commodity Investment Plan (PCIP) has also contributed in the crafting of Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) No. 10857 – an Act Establishing Mangrove Crab Seedbanks, Nurseries and Grow Out Production Farms in Catanduanes.

PRDP-Bicol hosted the 8th World Bank Implementation Support Mission to South Luzon Cluster on May 29-June 1, 2019. A team of WB consultants headed by Lead Agriculture Economist Frauke Jungbluth conducted I-BUILD and I-REAP subprojects site visits and consultation meetings with project beneficiaries in Catanduanes on May 29-30, 2019. Department of Agriculture Assistant Secretary for Agribusiness and I-REAP National Head Dr. Andrew Villacorta and South Luzon Project Director Engr. Arnel de Mesa were also present. A separate team led by Food and Agriculture Organization Natural Resource Management Specialist and WB Consultant Jim Hancock conducted similar activities to Global Environment Facility (GEF) sites in Pilar and Magallanes, Sorsogon.

The team then travelled to Legazpi City on May 31, 2019 for the break-out session by component and unit as well as for the I-PLAN Consultation Meeting with Catanduanes State University and presentation of initial result of the Mangrove Resource Mapping and Stakeholders’ Engagement for Sustainable Crab Industry Development in Catanduanes. The 8th World Bank Review Mission concluded with a plenary and presentation of focus group discussion agreements and field visit findings attended by Regional Project Directors, Deputy Project Directors and component and unit heads and representatives from PSO South Luzon and PRDP-Calabarzon, Mimaropa and Bicol on June 1, 2019 in Legazpi City.

“Your presence here in Bicol Region, particularly in this Implementation Support Mission is always a welcome development particularly to us in DA Region V because it gives us the necessary inputs from your observation, from your recommendations on how we can improve the implementation of these subprojects and at the same time, this will also be the critical input for our improvement in delivering our services to our clienteles,” Rodel Tornilla, DA-Bicol Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extension and PRDP-Bicol I-Support Component Head, said.

The mission is being conducted regularly by the Bank to assess the quality of subprojects being implemented or proposed and to interact with project beneficiaries. The 8th World Bank Implementation Support Mission also measured the Project’s performance in terms of achieving its development objectives, effectiveness of tools being used, and the readiness of the Department of Agriculture in mainstreaming the efforts established by the Project. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)