NAGA CITY, CAMARINES SUR – To reduce poverty incidence in his municipality. This is the major goal of Edgar Balidoy, as the newly-instated Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator (MPDC) of Sto. Domingo, Albay, a 4th class municipality in the first district of the province. With the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP), Balidoy sees an opportunity to attain his goal.

“Marhay ini ta nag-aagi ki process, although dakulon, nasusunod man su tama. Mas magayon kung gibuhon ta man ini sa ibang mga project ning gobyerno, i-simplify lang (This is good because it follows a process, although quite stringent but we’re guaranteed that we’re on the right track. It would be better if it will be simplified and mainstreamed in other government projects),” he related.

Balidoy was among the 50 City/MPDCs, City/Municipal Engineers and City/Municipal Agriculture Officers from 20 municipalities and cities in Albay, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte who attended the Orientation Meeting on the PRDP Implementation on January 18, 2019, this city.

PRDP-Bicol spearheaded the activity to inform the LGUs which submitted their intent to participate in the Project about eligible infrastructure and enterprise development (I-BUILD and I-REAP) subprojects, standards, processes and requirements. The LGUs represented at the orientation meeting were Ragay, Garchitorena, Lupi, Tinambac, Caramoan, Milaor, Minalabac, Iriga City, Balatan and Bato in Camarines Sur; Bacacay, Sto. Domingo, Libon, Polangui, Malilipot, Camalig, Guinobatan and Malinao in Albay; as well as Vinzons and Daet in Camarines Norte.

Consultants from PRDP-Bicol provided an overview of their respective components and units: Planning Officer Engr. Amabel Bombase on Investments in AFMP Planning at the Local and National Levels (I-PLAN), Rural Infrastructure Engineer Joel Catimbang on Intensified Building-Up of Infrastructure and Logistics for Development (I-BUILD), and Business Development Officer Glenn Balana on Investments for Rural Enterprises and Agricultural and Fisheries Productivity (I-REAP). For Project Implementation Support (I-SUPPORT), Project Development Associate Cherry Soribello lectured on Social and Environmental Safeguards, Procurement Officer Engr. Jesti Bergantin on procurement, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Officer Engr. Philbert Nebres on Geotagging, Finance Analyst Francis Llesis on Financial Management, and economist Megan Astrid Nuñez on PRDP Compliances.

According to PRDP-Bicol Deputy Project Director Adelina Losa, submitted proposals will immediately be validated and if eligible, endorsed for approval by the Regional Project Advisory Board (RPAB) for inclusion in the next I-BUILD prioritization run for 2020 subprojects funded under the Foreign Exchange (FOREX) Gain Budget.

“We have to work closely. Dapat magtulungan tayo na makakuha tayo ng malaking share dito sa PRDP because this is a loan from the World Bank, whether makakuha tayo sa hindi, katulong tayo sa pagbayad,” Losa said.

PRDP, a six-year development project being implemented by the Department of Agriculture, now directly partners with the city/municipal LGUs in implementing its I-BUILD and I-REAP subprojects. The World Bank-assisted Project aims to establish a modern, inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-smart agri-fishery sector nationwide.

As January 23, 2019, 11 LGUs already submitted project briefs of proposed PRDP subprojects in Bicol. Validation of said proposals are now ongoing. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)