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PIA Press Release

Gov't to generate over 1-M jobs from WB rural farm projects in Mindanao

Manila (5 February) -- The government is expected to generate over one million jobs for farmers and beneficiaries of the Mindanao Rural Development Program (MRDP) that will be implemented this year by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

DA Undersecretary for Operations Jesus Emmanuel Paras said the MRDP project is part of the overall government multi-billion peso stimulus package of the government to stimulate the Philippine economy amidst the global recession now crippling the world's giant economies.

"Based on our rule of thumb estimates, yes, it's possible the MRDP project this year can generate over one million jobs for farmers and their beneficiaries in Mindanao," Paras told reporters during a recent media forum here.

For rural infrastructure alone, Paras said a total budget of $ 43 million (approx. P2 billion) has been set aside this year for the construction and repairs of farm-to-market roads, post-harvest facilities, irrigation systems, portable water systems and other farm projects.

As of December last year, the government has already released P114 million for 13 rural infrastructure projects and P57.5 million for 23 livelihood projects in the regions of Caraga, Northern Mindanao, Western Mindanao and Central Mindanao.

"This project has to start immediately, we cannot wait as the full impact of the global recession will soon be felt by Filipinos, especially the poorest of the poor in the rural areas," Paras said.

Funded partly by the World Bank, the MRDP requires a 50 percent share from regional and provincial governments where the various rural infrastructure projects will be implemented.

Project proposals to be funded partly by the World Bank are submitted by these local government units to the DA for review and approval.

The number of farmers, laborers, contract workers and the business opportunities that will grow out of all these projects all over Mindanao, Paras said, can reach over one million people "directly or indirectly benefited by the various MRDP projects" all over Mindanao. (PNA) [top]

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