The Department of Agriculture Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) Regional Project Coordination Office (RPCO) in Bicol joined the 12th World Bank (WB) Implementation Support Mission (ISM) Kickoff Meeting conducted virtually on May 24, 2021.

This 12th World Bank ISM aims to highlight the progress made by the Project since the 11th WB ISM conducted in November 2020. Project implementation strategies and innovations done to navigate through the COVID -19 pandemic and adapt to the new normal, implementation progress per component, institutional mainstreaming, fund utilization and additional financing will also be discussed during the three-week activity.

This year’s ISM to the PRDP South Luzon Cluster will feature PRDP-Bicol’s enterprise development (I-REAP) subproject Sweet Potato-Based Products Processing Enterprise in Brgy. Anislag Daraga, Albay and the Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded Marine Reserve and Fish Sanctuary Protection and Reservation Bantigue Marine Reserve and Fish Sanctuary and the Milkfish Culture and Marketing in Pilar, Sorsogon.

About 307 participants from the WB headed by WB task Team Leader Eli Weiss, DA Secretary William Dar, PRDP National Project Coordination Office led by Undersecretary for Operations and PRDP National Project Director Engr. Ariel T. Cayanan, Project Support Offices and RPCOs nationwide, DA officials, and members of the National Project Advisory Board attended the said Kickoff Meeting.

PRDP-Bicol organic and hired staff from all components and units of the Project, headed by Regional Executive Director and concurrently Regional Project Director Rodel P. Tornilla virtually represented the region in the activity.

“I am truly grateful to what the PRDP has accomplished towards the realization of providing what is best for our farmers and fisherfolk while promoting good governance, transparency, and accountability at all stages of the project cycle,” DA Secretary William D. Dar said.

“We are really looking forward to interacting with all of you from the Project progress since the last Mission and also solve and discuss any bottlenecks that you may have so that we can move forward…” WB Task Team Leader Eli Weiss said.

In his presentation of PRDP Progress and Updates on Agreed Actions of the 11th WB ISM, DA-PRDP OIC National Deputy Project Director Shandy Hubilla discussed the component and GEF updates and milestones, PRDP’s new way of doing things to adapt to the new normal, the Project’s efforts to support digital agriculture, status of fund utilization and updates on the second additional financing.

The Mission will also be conducted in honor and in remembrance of World Bank Rural Development Specialist and Former World Bank Task Team Leader Carolina Figueroa-Geron who passed away in April 2021. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V/PRDP RPCO V InfoACE)