World Bank project in Mindanao enters 2nd phase, expands to more poor areas

May. 25, 2007

DAVAO CITY — A World Bank-funded poverty reduction project of the government in Mindanao enters a second phase of implementation, with coverage expanding to more poor communities across the island-region in the aim of improving farmers income and sustaining food security.

The Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) on its Adaptable Program Loan 2 will continue over the next five years, bringing in greater opportunities for agricultural and fisheries-related rural development as well as preservation of biological diversity in the island-region.

MRDP 2 kicked off implementation in a launching ceremony held here Monday graced by Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, DA Operations Undersecretary Jesus Emmanuel Paras, MRDP Program Director Roger Chio, World Bank Cluster Leader Carolina Figueroa Geron, and local chief executives in Mindanao representing areas being assisted by the program.

With a total cost of US$123.75 million (P6-billion), including equity from the national and local governments and funding assistance from the World Bank, MRDP 2 expands to 27 provinces and 225 municipalities in Mindanao.

The new phase shall cover projects on agricultural infrastructure, livelihood, environmental conservation and capacity building.

For its rural infra component, MRDP-2 aims to rehabilitate 2,150 kilometers of roads. Road construction facilitates movement of commodities such as rice, corn, copra, rubber and coffee.

Community livelihood projects amounting to P1.5 billion will be made available to women, indigenous peoples and other disadvantaged sectors under its component on Community Fund for Agricultural Development (CFAD), a municipal-based funding facility which aims to empower local communities to generate local savings.

Beyond looking at the project, what the World Bank and the government want to see is a reduced poverty in Mindanao because MRDP is our contribution to the vision of the Millennium Development Goal, Secretary Yap said.

MRDPs extension, he said, augurs well to the Department of Agricultures campaign for farmers profitability by providing the necessary fund to support construction of roads, bridges, water supply system and other agri-fishery facilities.

In a statement, Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) chair Virgilio Leyretana lauded DA and World Bank for pushing for MRDP’s extension, noting that “this undertaking is a welcome development for Mindanao, as we endeavor to pursue President Arroyo’s pro-poor, pro-growth and pro-modernization policies.”

Meanwhile, the World Bank has expressed confidence in attaining major headway on rural development in Mindanao under the MRDP-2.

We are proud to continue with MRDP under a bigger scope as this forms part of the Bank’s commitment to provide long term support to Mindanaos development. We look forward for the second phase to be at par or better yet, surpass the record of the MRDP-1, according to World Bank’s Geron.

MRDP-1 completed projects include 700 kilometer farm-to-market roads, 43 irrigation systems servicing 5,700 hectares, 28 units of potable water supply facilities, 9 single-lane bridges measuring 176 linear meters, 1,583 livelihood and small infrastructure projects availed by around 40,000 households, and 1,416 barangay development plans integrated to higher level plans. MEDCo

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