TACLOBAN CITY- Constituents from at least seven municipalities in Eastern Visayas may soon benefit from good road networks once the farm-to-market road (FMR) projects get funded this year under the Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP).

Department of Agriculture-8’s Regional Executive Director Bernadette F. San Juan disclosed that these sub-projects have just undergone pre-evaluation on July 24-25, 2014. This is in preparation for the upcoming evaluation to be conducted by the Regional Program Advisory Board (RPAB) tentatively scheduled on August 11, 2014, for their subsequent endorsement to the National Program Coordination Office (NPCO) or WorldBank.

“Putting more investments in rural infrastructures such as farm-to-market roads is important if we aim at propelling agricultural production and uplifting the living condition of our people living in the countryside. With a good road network for instance, poverty incidence is expected to be reduced because farmers will have increased potential for attaining much higher farm productivity. Also, transport cost and services are expected to improve,” Director San Juan said.
She added, “This is why we are saying that whenever we open up a road, we open up windows of opportunity.”

The FMR sub-project proposals lined up for funding this year consist of 19.4 kilometres project in Lilo-an and 3.980 km in Sogod, both in Southern Leyte; 12.6 km in Basey and 4.1 km in Sta. Rita, both in Samar; 2.128 km for Maydolong and 4.571km in Balangkayan, Eastern Samar and; 8.36 km in San Roque, Northern Samar.
Dir. San Juan lauded the key officials of the concerned local government units for selflessly taking extra mile to make sure that they are able to avail of the full benefits of the program for the benefit of their constituents, particularly the farmers. “Complying with the requirements and sourcing out for possible counterpart funds could be quite burdensome. And, we feel glad that these LGUs responded positively,” she pointed out.

She urges local government units to propose more infra subprojects under the program considering the bulk of its available funds allocated for rural infrastructure. Infrastructure projects that may be funded under the program consist of farm- to-market roads, bridges, communal irrigation systems, potable water system, fishery-related infrastructure, postharvest and other rural infrastructures such as, production facilities, tramlines, green houses, solar driers, watch towers, nursery watch towers and slope stabilization works, cold storage facilities and trading posts.

The total funding support for the PRDP amounts to P27.5 billion which US$500 million is a loan from World Bank, P3.579 billion and P3.118 billion counterpart funds from the national government and local government units, respectively and a US$ 7 million grant from the Global Environment Fund (GEF). Of the total funds under the program, P18.5 billion or 67.4 percent is allocated for infrastructure development, P6.9 billion or 25.2 percent for agro-industrial development and the remaining amount is allocated for planning and other support services of the program. (RODEL G.MACAPANAS/PR)