DA says MRDP2 extension gets NEDA nod

THE government gives two more years for the poverty-alleviation program devoted to Mindanao.

This as the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) Board, chaired  by President Benigno S. Aquino III approved recently the two-year extension of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Mindanao Rural Development Program Phase-2 (MRDP2).

The extension approval is among the approved P113.92 billion worth of investments for nine new transportation and infrastructure projects all over the country.

The MRDP2 extension amounts to P7.39 billion worth of investments that will cover agri-fishery infrastructures, livelihood programs and environmental conservation activities.

Launched in 2007, the program which is jointly funded by World Bank and the national and local government units will supposedly end by December 2012. But with the approval of the proposed two-year extension, the DA expects to complete more agricultural projects until 2014.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that the approval of the MRDP2 extension project will help push the administration’s inclusive growth in Mindanao.

“This will provide a boost to the Aquino administration’s goal of promoting inclusive economic growth since MRDP2 projects are focused on improving incomes of poor communities in the region,” Alcala said.

MRDP director Lealyn Ramos said, “although we are given two years, we hope to complete putting up all the livelihood projects, in particular, by mid of 2013 so that the remaining time will be spent for installing sustainability mechanisms so that the investments will not be wasted.”

“This approval is granted with the understanding that we should complete all physical activities on or before June of 2014 and all the fiscal-related activities on December of the same year,” said MRDP deputy director Arnel V. De Mesa.

“The Rural Infrastructure component is expected to deliver a total of P4.87 billion worth of investments covering farm-to-market roads, irrigation, bridges and post harvest facilities which now has about 50% physical accomplishments,” De Mesa added.

The rest of the extension funds were devoted to the Community Fund for Agricultural Development and Natural Resources Management components.

The other approved projects were the P2.12-billion Tacloban airport development and the P8.81-billion acquisition of multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC); P8.87-billion Phase I of the Mactan-Cebu international airport (MCIA) new passenger terminal project of the DOTC and MCIA; the P1.72-billion contactless automatic fare collection system (AFCS) also of the DOTC; the P1.16-billion rehabilitation, operation and maintenance of the Angat hydroelectric power plant turbines 4 and 5 through the PPP program of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS); the P1.14-billion Albay West Coast road project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); the P13.14-billion school infrastructure project of the Department of Education, the P25.56-billion NLEx-SLEx connector road of the DPWH, and the P43.33-billion Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAx) project also of the DPWH.

The P68.28-million Component A of the Convergence on Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment (Project Converge) of the Department of Agrarian Reform was also approved.

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