Date Published: June 19, 2020

City of San Fernando, PAMPANGA – Amidst the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, the 10th World Bank Implementation Support Mission (WB ISM) to the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) kicked off its first digital conference on June 15, 2020 held simultaneously to various regions in the country.

At least 300 online representatives from the National Capital Region (NCR), Ilocos Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen, Caraga Region, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao      participated in the teleconference.

Regional Project Coordination Office (RPCO 3) is this year’s host region for the I-BUILD Virtual Visit North Luzon Cluster headed by Regional Executive Director Crispulo G. Bautista, Jr. together with Project Support Office (PSO) Deputy Project Director Elma Mananes.

For his part, WB Task Team Leader Eli Weiss accentuated the mission objective that aims to evaluate the progress and towards the achievement of project development.

“We are really looking forward to the mission and I’m sure that PRDP has continued being at the forefront of implementing reforms, mainstreaming improvements and innovations during this pandemic,” Weiss said.

Weis also stressed to tackle implementation issues specifically those subprojects affected by Covid-19 adding that further discussion is needed for the additional funding (AF 2) in support to value-chain in the ‘new normal’.

Additionally, WB delegates Achim Fock and Dina Umali-Deininger lauded the PRDP for its collaborative efforts to extend tremendous support to farmers likewise sharing the excellent work of the project to the different parts of the globe.

During the teleconference, DA Secretary William Dar underscored the agricultural sector plays a major role in pursuing the socio-economic response framework to the covid-19 pandemic recovery efforts to rise stronger from this global crisis.

“We must encourage the development of an agriculture-driven economy for the vision of a food secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous farmers and fisherfolks,” Dar said.

He also put emphasis on the initiatives of the government’s national efforts which includes the alignment of the DA’s ALPAS (Ahon Lahat Pagkaing Sapat) Kontra COVID 19, job creation in the rural areas under the ‘New Normal’ and complementing the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa Program.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary for Operations and PRDP National Project Director Ariel T. Cayanan extended his utmost appreciation to the World Bank for collaborating with the Philippine Government that paved the way to pivotal programs similar to partner agencies for their relentless support during project implementation.

“Today, the PRDP has its share of challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is said that challenges are accompanied by remarkable opportunities,’ Usec.  Cayanan added.

National Deputy Project Director Shandy Hubilla affirmed that PRDP continues to acquire innovative ways in delivering outputs and resolving drawbacks in close coordination with the local government units, proponent groups and other partner agencies despite the threat of the pandemic.

National Project Coordination Office (NPCOs), PSOs and the RPCOs were encouraged to continue in doing their best for the project and live-up to the expectations in implementing the subprojects with greater efficiency, transparency and accountability.

The WB ISM will run from June 15 to July 3, 2020 to gauge the project accomplishment of each region in the previous months and to showcase some of the notable DA-PRDP subprojects in the country.  (MA. REINA LEN G. LUNA, RPCO3 InfoACE)

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