PILI, CAMARINES SUR – As a newly-elected local chief executive (LCE) of Pandan, a 4th class municipality in the island province of Catanduanes, Mayor Honesto Tabligan II’s development thrust is building up cooperatives and focusing on priority commodities. He saw a connectivity between his administration’s development plan and the Department of Agriculture (DA) Philippine Rural Development’s (PRDP) development objectives. After listening to the discussion particularly about the PRDP’s enterprise development (I-REAP) component, he knew it’s time to signify his intent to partner with the Project.

“Nakita ko yung financial leverage, kasi in partnership with PRDP, equity lang ang kailangan ko. Ija-justify ko lang yung equities. Parehas yung objective natin eh, para mag-grow yung economy at matulungan rin yung mga farmers and fisherfolk, doon din ako nag-align,” said Tabligan.

Tabligan, was among the five LCEs who attended the 2nd batch of the PRDP Orientation Meeting on July 16, 2019, at the DA regional office this municipality. Nineteen local government units (LGUs) regionwide were represented in the orientation, which aims to provide an overview of the entire project, its policies and the guidelines specific to each of its components.

During the meeting, PRDP-Bicol hired consultants Engr. Joel Catimbang, Rural Infrastructure Engineer, and Glenn Balana, Business Development Officer, discussed the updates, process flow, documentary and eligibility requirements as well as menu of subprojects available under PRDP’s infrastructure development (I-BUILD) and I-REAP to Municipal Agricultural Officers, Planning Officers, Municipal Engineers, Cooperative Development Officers and Community Organizers. Also, Mary Ann Cuya, Planning Specialist; Teresita Blanqueza, Social and Environmental Safeguards (SES) Officer; Engr. Jesti Bergantin, Procurement Unit Officer; and Francis Llesis, Financial Analyst, oriented them about the PRDP’s Investments in AFMP Planning at the Local and National Levels (I-PLAN) component and the units under the Project Implementation Support (I-SUPPORT) component namely SES, Procurement and Finance. The team also introduced them to the Project’s Applied Geotagging Tool, used in subproject supervision and quality monitoring.   

Tabligan added that he appreciated the Project’s holistic approach to development especially the connectivity between I-BUILD and I-REAP. With the Project, he discovered an opportunity to improve the accessibility of six abaca-producing barangays in his municipality, which remain inaccessible up to now.

DA-Bicol Regional Technical Director (RTD) for Operations and Extension and PRDP-Bicol Deputy Project Director Adelina Losa encouraged the LGU participants to submit I-BUILD proposals which will be funded under the additional financing and Foreign Exchange (FOREX) Gain Budget and I-REAP subprojects, which still have available funds from the original loan. She guaranteed that PRDP organic and hired consultants will be available to assist them in preparing the Project’s documentary requirements.

“Ito po ang aming patakaran: Pabilisan, pagalingan. Hahalaton ko an serious talagang Letter of Intent (LOI),” Losa said.

Local government units who are interested to engage in PRDP are required to submit a LOI addressed to the DA-Bicol Regional Executive Director as well as subproject briefs of I-BUILD and I-REAP proposals not later than July 31, 2019.

“I’m signifying,” Mayor Tabligan affirmed. “We will push through, both I-BUILD and I-REAP. Nakita ko na maganda yung project, maganda yung patutunguhan, tapos may purpose, may control. Actually, our community is ripe to move forward ‘coz they’ve been exposed to alternative livelihood interventions both sa DSWD, DOLE, and DTI. Ang kailangan nila is capitalization. Ang pagpasok ng PRDP is very timely na iga-guide lang ang mga tao na ito tapos tutulungan doon sa capitalization nila and then imo-monitor ng I-REAP group so be it. Malaki ang potential,” he added.    As of June 30, 2019, the PRDP-Bicol has accomplished and implemented 62 subprojects worth a total of P2.68 billion regionwide. PRDP is a World Bank-assisted development project being implemented by the DA that aims to establish an inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-smart agri-fishery sector in the countryside. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V)

DA-Bicol RTD for Operations and Extension and PRDP Deputy Project Director Adelina Losa urges the LGUs to avail of funding under the Philippine Rural Development Project.
PRDP-Bicol I-PLAN Planning Specialist Mary Ann Cuya orients the LGU participants about the Investments in AFMP Planning at the Local and National Levels (I-PLAN).
PRDP-Bicol Rural Infrastructure Engineer Engr. Joel Catimbang discusses the infrastructure development (I-BUILD) process flow.
PRDP-Bicol Business Development Officer Glenn Balana informs the LGU participants about the I-REAP flow of activities.
PRDP-Bicol SES Officer Teresita Blanqueza enumerates the documentary requirements to comply with the SES unit’s policies.
PRDP-Bicol Procurement Officer Engr. Jesti Bergantin lectures on the Project’s procurement process.
PRDP-Bicol Finance Analyst Francis Llesis discusses the Finance and Compliance requirements of PRDP.
Mayor Honesto Tabligan II of Pandan, Catanduanes (foremost, 2nd row, right) listens as PRDP organic and hired consultants discuss the overview of the entire project, its policies and the guidelines specific to each of its components.

(Photos by Eduardo D. Collantes Jr., DA-RAFIS V, Annielyn L. Baleza, DA-RAFIS V, and Michelle Angela G. Alfigura, PRDP-Bicol InfoACE Unit)