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PIA Press Release

PADRE to fit SMC-Kuok's agri-venture in Davao Norte

by JMD Abangan

Tagum City (5 March) -- The Poverty Alleviation and Development for Rural Economy (PADRE) implementation fits with the entry of the agro-forestry joint project of San Miguel Corporation and of Malaysia's Kuok Group, Davao del Norte Provincial Governor Rodolfo P. del Rosario has pointed this out.

In a monthly meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) last Wednesday, del Rosario expressed his interest to "dovetail" PADRE with the agri-business venture of the Philippines beverages and food conglomerate with Malaysia's Kuok.

He made the recommendation as he noted that the SMC project is also directed at alleviating poverty and ensuring food security in response to the campaign of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to make food always available for all Filipinos.

The food security program of the SMC with Kuok was captured early this year in business headlines of most national broadsheets.

Reports said the program would start off in Davao del Norte where an estimated 18,494 hectares of logged over areas have been identified for upland forestry, initially covering the municipalities of Kapalong with 3,246 hectares; San Isidro, 5,860; Talaingod, 7,860 hectares; and New Corella, 1,552 hectares.

Davao del Norte is among the Priority 3 areas of the agri-venture, covering 220,000 hectares which can also be found in the provinces of Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, North Cotabato and Agusan del Norte.

Priority 1 areas include the Mountain Province, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Saranggani while Priority 2 areas are Isabela, Mindoro Oriental, Mindoro Occidental, Bukidnon, Davao Oriental, Sultan Kudarat and Surigao del Sur.

Disclosing that San Miguel's group paid him a courtesy call last Monday, del Rosario said that the food conglomerate must have been convinced of the peace and order stability of the local government for having decided to pour in huge investment in the three municipalities of the province.

"If we have not shown that we are in control of the peace and order, San Miguel and Kuok wouldn't have come here," he said during the PPOC meeting.

PADRE is one of the mechanisms that the provincial government of Davao del Norte has instituted to address poverty thereby checking insurgency problem especially in the countryside.

Created through Provincial Ordinance No. 2007-036 approved on November 23, 2007, PADRE is aimed at alleviating the living condition of the marginalized families by increasing their monthly income; reducing poverty incidence in the entire province; and increasing crops, fisheries and livestock production.

Given an annual budget of P1 million, the program covers farmers and landless farm laborers; artificial fisherfolk; retrenched municipal employees; rebel returnees; construction workers; workers in the formal and non-formal sectors; indigenous peoples; other disadvantaged sectors such as women, children, youth and victims of natural and man-made calamities.

In the same meeting, Board Member Recarido Federiso, Davao del Norte Sangguniang Panlalawigan chairperson of the Peace and Order Committee, briefed members of PADRE implementation.

He said his committee is scheduled this year to conduct a series of orientation among the municipal and barangay officials regarding PADRE. (PIA XI) [top]

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