TACLOBAN CITY – About 19 more proposed irrigation and farm-to-market road projects were approved during the 33rd deliberation by the Agrarian Reform Communities Project’s (ARCP’s) National Sub-Project Approval Committee (NSAC) held recently in this city. For the first time the NSAC held the deliberation of projects to be funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) outside Metro Manila. These projects, according to Regional Director Eliasem Castillo of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), are for implementation in selected agrarian reform communities (ARCs) in Regions 4-B, 5, 8 and 9 under the second phase of the ARCP (ARCP-2).
Castillo, who hosted the event, proudly announced that of the 20 proposed projects deliberated, Region-8 has the most number with seven, and all were approved by the body. Region-9 got six approved projects, five for Region-4B, while only one was approved for Region-5. An aggregate total amount of P411.1-million is needed to finance the 19 approved proposed projects. Eleven of these are irrigation projects, while eight of them are farm-to-market roads. One proposed warehouse failed to meet the design standard leading to the NSAC’s disapproval of it.
Approved irrigation projects for implementation in Region-8 are: construction of Bunacan Communal Irrigation Project in San Isidro, Leyte; Construction of Cagnocot Communal Irrigation Project in Villaba, Leyte; and the rehabilitation of Tabunok and the Tagbawto Communal Irrigation Systems both in Hilongos, Leyte with a combined total cost of P135.2-million. Meanwhile, three farm-to-market road projects are for implementation in two Leyte towns and one in Eastern Samar with a total cost of P49.7-million. San Isidro town got two projects in this deliberation, an irrigation project and the rehabilitation of the 1.74-kilometer Bawod-Paril farm-to-market road. The two other approved farm-to-market road projects are the construction of the 2.8-kilometer Capirawan-Gacao-Canhidoc-Arado road in Palo, Leyte and the Concreting of the 4.4-kilometer Cagaut-Cantomoja-Camanga-Carapdapan road in Salcedo, Eastern Samar.
During the deliberation, the body, chaired by DAR Assistant Secretary Dennis Barrantes, gave emphasis on the economic value of these projects towards the farmers particularly the agrarian reform beneficiaries in the ARCs. Other members of the body include DAR Assistant Secretary Hermenia Fe San Juan and representatives from the Departments of Agriculture, Public Works and Highways, Environment and Natural Resources, Budget and Management, Finance, National Irrigation Administration, National Commission on Indigenous People, Municipal Development Fund Office and the National Economic Development Authority.
The body realized how these projects are badly needed by the farmers in rural areas to improve their quality of life when they visited one of the recipient ARCs, the San Isidro ARC, with 2,190 ARBs and where rice fields are just dependent on rain and the road leading to the area is hardly passable by vehicles particularly on rainy days. (JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA, RIO)