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PIA Press Release

ADB introduces bio-engineering technique to Sorsogon ARCP2 beneficiaries

by BA Recebido and DFR Mallanta

Sorsogon Province (June 18) -- Asian Development Bank (ADB) team member Charles David Salter introduces to the Castilla town's Agrarian Reform Communities Project 2 (ARCP2) beneficiaries, the so-called "bio-engineering" strategy in preserving their upcoming constructed farm-to-market roads.

Salter along with two other ADB representatives and two head officers from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) national and regional office visited recently the municipality of Castilla, this province, for its Review of Castilla ARCP2.

In a gathering, Salter introduces an approach on how to preserve a road by protecting the soil through "bio-engineering". Bio-engineering is the method used to prevent soil erosion such as planting grass, shrubs, and trees to the road's shoulder.

Agriculture and Enterprise Development Specialist David T. Santos said that with the presentation of Salter, both the community and the Local Government Unit (LGU) appreciated the idea of bio-engineering. "We, in DAR Sorsogon, likewise, support the strategy being introduced," Santos added.

Santos further proposed the use of geo-textiles being produced in Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs) here to be utilized for bio-engineering rather than just exporting them.

Likewise, Santos suggested the planting of Vetiver on the road's shoulder like in other countries rather than grasses of little usage.

Vetiver is a tropical grass with heavy, fibrous roots native to India and is used as an excellent erosion control plant especially in countries with warmer climates.

However, Salter suggested instead, the use of plants native in the area to cut expenses on the part of LGUs.

The idea of introducing the bio-engineering emerged during the community's Focus Group Discussion (FGD) where community proposed provisions of four projects such as Concrete Farm-to-Market Road, Irrigation Facilities, Potable Water Supply and Alternative Livelihood that are beneficial to the economic development of Mayon ARC and San Rafael ARC both in Castilla town.

Castilla is among the six fortunate municipalities in the province benefiting from the ARCP2. In the Philippines, ARCP 2 has only six recipient-regions which include Bicol.

In related development, following the ADB review of Castilla town's ARCP2 which highlighted the ADB's observation on how Local Government Units (LGUs) and the community perform an FGD, a site validation of the proposed San Isidro ? Nalup-an farm-to-market road and consultation meeting with non-government units were conducted.

"We are looking for partnership in development as far as our agrarian reform beneficiaries are concerned," said Roseller R. Olayres, Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer II.

Olayres said that the active representation from NGOs and other private sectors such as LIKAS, Aquinas University Foundation, Sorsogon Provincial Coop Bank, Sorsogon Integrated Development Cooperative, People's Alternative Livelihood Foundation of Sorsogon, Inc. and other stakeholders undoubtedly promises successful partnerships in the implementation of the 5-yr ARCP2 in the province. (PIA/DAR Sorsogon) [top]

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