Central Luzon looks forward to PRDP Scale Up

Date Published: May 2, 2023

Central Luzon continues to be the top agricultural region in the country with a 12.9 percent share in the total value of agricultural and fisheries production in 2021, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. On the other hand, farmers and fisherfolks still encounter persistent challenges in crucial areas such as logistics and market linkage.

The Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) Scale-Up is an expanded version of the project designed to address the gaps in the commodity value chains by improving the efficiency of the food supply chain. The DA-PRDP Regional Project Coordination Office 3 (RPCO 3), with the Project Support Office North Luzon Cluster (PSO Luzon A), launched a series of orientations among the seven provinces in Central Luzon from March to April 2023.

Started in 2014, the DA-PRDP is a World Bank supported project designed to establish a government platform for a modern, climate-resilient, and market-oriented agri-fishery sector. It partners with local government units and proponent groups in implementing key rural infrastructures and agri-based investments.

PSO Deputy Project Director Elma Mananes stressed the importance of the orientation activities to encourage LGUs in proposing subprojects under PRDP. “We started PRDP in 2014, but some of the municipalities in the region are still not familiar with it because most of the subprojects are implemented by the provincial government.”, said Mananes. “But this time, we are introducing the PRDP Scale Up to the municipal level because we have seen from other province and regions, that giving them the opportunity to propose their own would increase the proposals and implemented subprojects in the region.” Mananes explained.

The DA-PRDP Scale Up is proposed to be funded $600-million of loan proceeds from the World Bank or approximately P33 billion. This would make the Scale-Up have the highest amount of funding compared to its predecessors, the Original Loan which had $500 million or P27.5 million and the Additional Financing 1 and 2 (AF-1 and AF-2) which had $450 million or P24.85 million and was received in two tranches (AF1 and AF2).

“We are not talking about just a small amount when it comes to PRDP”, said the Bataan Provincial Project Management and Implementation Unit (PPMIU) Head, Engr. Alex Baluyut, during the Bataan leg of the PRDP Scale-Up Orientation. “We are counting on the municipalities in coming up and identifying new projects to be proposed under the PRDP Scale-Up.” Baluyut added.

As of this writing, the RPCO 3 was able to have 42 approved subprojects under the infrastructure development component (I-BUILD) with a total cost of P2.2 billion and 160 approved subprojects under the enterprise development component worth a total of P675 million. These interventions are all based on each of the Provincial Commodity Investment Plan for major commodities such as onion, sweetpotato, mango, ampalaya, goat, cattle, coconut, etc.

During the orientations, the PPMIUs, who have been the provincial implementing partners of PRDP, encouraged the municipal LGU attendees to urge their respective local chief executives to consider investing in PRDP subprojects. “We hope that after this orientation, we will be convinced to add more PRDP subprojects here in our province.” Urged Crisostomo Rabaca.

The infrastructure subprojects, DA-PRDP requires 10 percent equity of the total subproject cost from all proponent LGUs until the first year of implementation in 2024 but come 2025, they would require 30 percent equity from first to second class LGUs, 20 percent equity for third to fourth class LGUs, and 10 percent equity for fifth to sixth class LGUs. Meanwhile, the enterprise subprojects will maintain the 20 percent equity requirement from the proponent LGU.

In his message during the Aurora leg of the orientation activities, Aurora Governor Christian Noveras pledged the support of the provincial government in assisting the municipalities in the proposal of the subprojects and in their implementation, should they be approved by the DA-PRDP. (Ram Bill Bautista, RPCO3 InfoACE)

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