Thursday, March 29, 2007

WB Approves $83-M Loan For Mindanao Projects

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 29 Mar) – The World Bank has approved a $83.752-million loan for Philippines to finance the second phase of a four-part program called the Mindanao Rural Development Project (MRDP2).

The program is aimed at improving food security on Mindanao Island, south of Manila. It is expected to benefit over 200 towns and more than two dozen provinces.

The World Bank said the second phase of the project will improve the delivery of services to the agriculture and fisheries sector, making sure that production increases to ensure food security.

"MRDP2 encompasses strong approaches related to community-driven development which will help promote the active and continued participation of indigenous peoples and other disadvantaged groups in the development process," said World Bank country director for the Philippines Joachim von Amsberg.

The program will also pilot test a performance-based grant scheme aimed at spurring local government units into developing infrastructure in their areas, according to a report Thursday of the Philippine News Agency.

"Almost a third of the country's poor live in Mindanao. We hope that with this project, Mindanaoans (inhabitants of the island) will experience greater economic and integration opportunities, particularly to indigenous communities and other disadvantaged groups," Filipino Agriculture Secy. Arthur Yap said.

The Department of Agriculture is overall executing agency of the development program and local government units as implementer of sub-projects.

The first phase of the development project was completed in 2004. It covered five provinces and 32 municipalities in Mindanao.

Its third phase, which has yet to receive funding, aims to deepen the program by making sure that all eligible municipalities in Mindanao will be covered. The fourth phase intends to secure the sustainability of the development initiatives. (With a report from Mindanao Examiner)

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