Date Published: June 2, 2021

The Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) has emerged to be tenacious despite the occurrence of the coronavirus pandemic which has spread globally and has tremendously impacted the organization.

Amid the ‘new normal’, DA-PRDP has changed the way in doing things and has now adopted innovative methods to mobilize and empower partners to intensify implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation in the localities.

On May 24, 2021, the 12th World Bank Implementation Support Mission (WBISM) kicked off its third digital conference which was participated in by at least 307 attendees nationwide.

Representing DA-PRDP Central Luzon are DA Regional Executive Director (RED) Crispulo G. Bautista Jr. joined by Project Support Office (PSO) Deputy Project Director Elma Mananes, Regional Project Support Office (PSO) Project Director Dr. Eduardo Lapuz Jr. and RPCO 3 Action Officer Gil G. David.

Formally opening the virtual mission, DA Secretary William D. Dar, in his speech, stressed that digital platforms played significant roles in ensuring the continuity of operations through interactive tools, however, he expressed optimism to meet and collaborate once again when in-person meetings resume in the future.

“This is my third time to join everyone and despite the challenges and limitations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, I am proud to say that we are hitting our goals. Given the current situation, we were able to work and deliver outcomes due to the power of digital technology,” Dar said.

He also emphasized the successful negotiation for the retrofitting of the $280 million second additional financing with EUR18.3 million E.U. co-financing grant (AF2-EU) as one of the recent milestones of the DA-PRDP.

With this, DA-PRDP National Project Director Undersecretary Ariel T. Cayanan pointed out that the mission aims to discuss and deliberate the ways forward of the PRDP in order to maintain a modern, inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-smart agriculture for farmers and fishers.

“We have more to accomplish especially with the approval of the additional second financing. We have four more years to prove that we can do more than what we have now. Let us work harder in giving our partners and farmers the best opportunities to uplift their lives and compete in the global market,’ Cayanan added.

Meanwhile, WB Task Team Leader Eli Weiss took the opportunity to commend the efforts of the DA-PRDP in preparing for the necessary documents, virtual field visits, websites and other digital tools to be used in the virtual mission.

“Even now that it has all been difficult for the last few months, thank you for your effort to prepare all these. Also, for the good and continued implementation during these (difficult) times, with all your great work and innovative mind and passion every day you put into work,” Weiss said.

Also, progress and updates on the agreed action of the 11th virtual mission was presented by DA-PRDP Officer-in-Charge National Deputy Project Director Shandy M. Hubilla.

A year has passed since the pandemic and the DA-PRDP will look back on the past months and see growth and resilience flowing into the lives of farmers and fisherfolk in the country.  (MA. REINA LEN G. LUNA, RPCO3 InfoACE)


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