Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has cited the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) as model in implementation of agricultural infrastructure projects.
In his presentation of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) proposed budget for 2012 to House of Representatives appropriations committee, Alcala said MRDP can provide valuable insights in project implementation.
“Sa mga programa sa imprastruktura, maraming karanasan at aral tayong nahango sa pagpapatupad ng MRDP, na dati ay matumal ang implementasyon (In terms of infrastructure programs, we can draw a lot of lessons from MRDP implementation which from the start had experienced some delays but is now picking up).”
MRDP is a special project under the DA with funding assistance from World Bank, national government, and local government units. It aims to improve rural incomes and strengthen decentralization of delivery of basic agricultural services in covered towns across Mindanao.
“Kasama sa mga aral ay kung paano mapasigla ang partisipasyon ng mga LGUs (part of the lessons learned is how we can strengthen the participation of LGUs),” Alcala added.
He also commended MRDP for tapping the geotagging technology in making infrastructure projects more transparent and cost-efficient.
“Malaking tulong ang paggamit ng geotagging [sa project implementation] na gusto rin ng World Bank na gamitin rin sa ibang proyekto (Geotagging would be of big help [in project implementation] which the World Bank suggests to be done in other projects too,” he said.
“Nauunawaan natin kung may pagdududa pa rin tungkol sa maayos na paggamit ng pondong ipagkakatiwala sa DA. Sariwa pa sa alaala ang mga nakaraang katiwalian (We understand if the funds that will be entrusted to us will be clouded with doubts as the anomalies from the recent past is still fresh),” Alcala stressed.
He said use of geotagging is one way of making DA’s project implementation more transparent.
Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification metadata to various media such as geotagged photos or video, websites, and SMS messages. In the case of MRDP, these data usually consist of coordinates of rural infrastructure projects such as access roads and water facilities.
“We are tapping this technology [geotagging] to help stakeholders find variety of location-specific information. For instance, we can avoid duplication of projects by checking through Google Earth the presence of other projects implemented in a particular area,” said MRDP program director Lealyn A. Ramos.
“This is one of the Program’s ways to support Secretary Alcala’s thrust of promoting transparency and good governance in our project implementation within DA,” she added.
Bulk of DA’s proposed budget of P61.73 billion for 2012 is allotted for investments in infrastructure projects such as irrigation at P27.1 billion and postharvest facilities and other related infrastructure at P11.28 billion. Other investments include production support at P4.86 billion and research and extension at P4.75 billion.
Alcala appealed to the lower house appropriation committee to support DA’s proposed budget for the agency to advance development of the country’s agriculture sector. Noel T. Provido, DA/MRDP