By Czeriza Valencia, August 16 2018; Philstar.com


Image Credit to Business Mirror

MANILA, Philippines — Official development assistance (ODA) remains an important component in attaining goals under the country’s medium-term development plan, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said yesterday.

Citing data from its 2017 ODA Portfolio Review Report, NEDA said there are 27 ODA-funded programs and projects aligned with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022.

NEDA said the projects had positive contributions to 30 sector outcome indicators in the five chapters of the PDP.

“ODA is important in the implementation of the PDP strategies, programs, and projects. With the ODA facility, we are able to achieve an optimal mix of funding for development projects. Ensuring that these projects bring us closer to our development objectives is our main focus,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA chief Ernesto Pernia.

The PDP 2017 — 2022 is the first medium-term plan anchored on the administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda and is synched with the country’s long-term vision called AmBisyon Natin 2040, which seeks to create within a generation’s time a predominantly middle class society.

The current PDP is a comprehensive document with 21 chapters and accompanying results matrices that specify targets and measurable indicators.

In the infrastructure sector, NEDA noted that several ODA-funded projects have contributed to the decline of the average travel time in key corridors.

Among these is the Japan-assisted Road Upgrading and Preservation Project implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways that reduced the travel time from Lipa Floral Garden Junction in Batangas to Alaminos Junction in Laguna from 95 minutes to 20 minutes.

Likewise, travel time from San Jose-Rizal Road Section to Mamburao-Abra De Ilog Road Section in Mindoro was reduced from seven to eight hours to three to four hours. From Viga-Bagamanoc Section to end of Bacak-Minaile Section, Catanduanes, the average travel time was cut down from 74 minutes to 28 minutes.

In the agriculture sector, several ODA-funded projects supporting agrarian reform and food production projects have increased palay (unhusked rice) yields, NEDA said.

The Japan-funded Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project III (ARISP) boosted palay yields in agrarian reform communities such as Kapangan and Kibungan in Benguet, and Dumalag, Capiz. Yields increased from 2.89 metric tons per hectare (MT/ha) to 5.56 MT/ha.

ARISP involves the provision of irrigation facilities, farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities and rural water supply systems. So far, a total of 120 communal irrigation systems have been rehabilitated and constructed and 7,068 farmers have used improved technology in their farming methods.

The Department of Agriculture’s Rapid Food Production Enhancement Program, supported by the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), increased palay yield in its target areas in Region X and Region VIII from 2.99 MT/ha to 4.51 MT/ha.

Through this project, 27 post-harvest and 24 agriculture-support facilities have been constructed, while 109 irrigators associations, along with more than 5,000 farmers, have been trained.

“The Philippine government has always been grateful to all its development partners and donor countries for their continued support to the country’s development programs,” Pernia said.