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DA strengthens rural dev’t projects

The proposed expansion of the World Bank-assisted Philippine Rural Development Project of the Department of Agriculture (DA-PRDP) has inched towards its approval with the endorsement from the Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CC) of the National Economic and Development Authority.

The USD 450-million (R20.9-billion) proposed expansion of the DA’s flagship platform for modern, inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-resilient agri-fisheries development will primarily address the current P19.18-billion World Bank loan proceeds shortage for the Project’s rural infrastructure development portfolio.

DA Undersecretary and PRDP National Director Ariel Cayanan said without assured additional resources under the agency, the DA cannot commit to funding the remaining rural infrastructures proposed for under the PRDP even with equities from the national government and local government units (LGUs).

Besides the lack of internal funding resources from the DA, the agency pushes for the expansion of the PRDP to sustain institutional and governance reforms that the project has introduced.

“The expansion is vital to sustain the momentum for mainstreaming governance reforms not only in the DA but also across partner agencies and LGUs,” Cayanan said.

He added the PRDP has been known to have revolutionized ways of doing business in and with the DA, introducing innovations in enhancing transparency, accountability and participation mechanisms.

“It would also be timely to scale up reforms we have been introducing by reaching out to more LGUs, thereby consolidating our efforts on a national scale,” Cayanan said.

Under the request for additional financing, the DA is also proposing to explore with the World Bank how to further strengthen and sustain the PRDP project-approach and institutional reforms, integrating these into the DA’s regular programming and budgeting processes.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol has already sent official endorsement of the PRDP’s proposed additional financing to NEDA.

He is joined by at least 45 local chief executives, 12 regional development councils and other agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways and Department of Agrarian Reform, among others. (PNA)