DAR converging P8-B anti-poverty projects for NegOcc

on . Posted in DAR In The News
sunstarlogoThe Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is working towards converging about P8-billion worth of projects through various government agencies under the Accelerated and Sustainable Anti-Poverty Program (Asap) for Negros Occidental.

Agrarian Reform Undersecretary for Foreign-Assisted Special Projects Herman Ongkiko, who was in Bacolod City Friday for a meeting with Asap-member line agencies, told Sun.Star Bacolod they are looking at every poverty-alleviation program of every agency that can be part of the convergence.

Ongkiko said that DAR itself has many programs, including farm-to-market road projects, which are mostly foreign-funded, on top of regular programs such as the Agrarian Reform Communities Connectivity and Economic Support Services (Arccess).

These are being converged with the programs of other agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Health, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Agriculture and mainly, Sugar Regulatory Administration, he added.

“We are mapping the beneficiaries across the agencies to track if the programs are complementing, instead of overlapping, in order to sustain employment, increase income and production, and eventually reduce poverty, which are essentially the objectives of DAR,” he said.

Last year, the Human Development and Poverty Reduction Cluster has identified 10 provinces in the country with the highest poverty incidence, but with high growth potentials as recipients of Asap, which mainly aims to address critical concerns related to reducing poverty incidence to 18 percent by the end of the current administration.

Negros Occidental was included under DAR as its lead convenor.

The National Economic Development Authority and National Anti-Poverty Council has identified San Carlos City, La Carlota City, Binalbagan and Hinoba-an as priority local government units (LGUs) in the province.

Recently, Cadiz City was included due also to its high numbers of poor households and agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).

DAR records showed that these five recipient-LGUs are composed of 26,521 poor households and 26,137 ARBs, which are 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively, of the province’s 138, 664 total poor households and 151, 562 ARBs.

Ongkiko said that Asap for Negros Occidental with indicative costs of about P8 billion across all agencies, is mainly comprised of farm-to-market road projects worth more than P2 billion, which has a two-year implementation period, from 2015 to 2016.

Some of these programs include credit and crop insurance, provision of common service facilities and business development services, social infrastructure, and local capability building, and sugarcane block farming.

Most of these programs are already awarded and currently being implemented while some are still proposals, Ongkiko said, adding that for instance, the implementation of P2 billion farm-to-market road projects is still pending as there is no final say yet from the Department of Budget and Management on its allocation.

“We have already seen initial gains of converging programs in one defined area under Asap, and we continue (to work on) these gains,” he said, noting that DAR is closely working with the provincial government to make sure that all its efforts are in line with the province’s thrusts.

Source: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/bacolod/local-news/2016/02/29/dar-converging-p8-b-anti-poverty-projects-negocc-459875