Friday, September 26, 2014
P29.8-M JICA-funded projects benefit 4,900 townsfolk in Ecija town
ZARAGOZA, Nueva Ecija – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the municipal government unveiled here on Thursday P29.8-million worth of projects funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) covering a farm-to-market road (FMR), potable water system (PWS) and day-care centers (DCCs) benefiting 4,904 local residents in two Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs).
DAR regional director for Central Luzon Arnel Dizon led the launch of the projects at the municipal gymnasium along with DAR provincial agrarian reform officer (PARO) 2 Romeo Cordero, PARO 1 Jocelyn Ramones, Mayor Lovella Belmonte-Espiritu and other local officials.
The projects consist of the 2.6-kilometer, P18.5-million FMR in barangays Sta. Lucia Young and Old covered by the ARC, PWS for 216 households in Sta. Lucia Old and the repair and renovation of day-care centers in all 19 barangays of this third-class town.
ARCs refer to a cluster of barangays provided support services by the DAR.
Belmonte-Espiritu said the three projects are high-impact projects, particularly the FMR which enables 3,794 local residents to have access to good roads and hasten the transport of agricultural produce from the farms to the market.
The economy of this town, covering a population of 42,217 and a household population of 9,874, is largely agricultural with 6,246 hectares out of land area devoted to farming.
Belmonte-Espiritu said that prior to the completion of the road, local residents have been enduring the dirt road, particularly during the rainy season when it gets muddy.
“The local residents have suffered long and hard waiting for the road network to be concreted. It has been a long wait. Now, they can finally cross the road in the two barangays without having to worry about the bad road condition,” she said.
Cordero said the three projects are under the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project (ARISP) of the DAR whose scope covers FMR, PWS, communal irrigation system (CIS), agriculture and agribusiness development (AAD) and institutional development (ID); and other program components such as the grassroots participatory planning and budgeting (GPPB) and ARCCESS covering mechanized palay production.
ARISP is a JICA-funded project wherein the local government unit (LGU) and recipient shell out their equity.
As its equity for the FMR, the municipal government has earmarked P2.4 million and also bankrolled four other road projects spanning 15 kilometers worth P17 million.
For the PWS, the municipal government also allocated P2.5 million as its share for the establishment of an elevated water tank for 216 households.
Belmonte-Espiritu said that for the DCCs, 914 children under the day-care service will be the principal beneficiaries of the project worth P950,000.
She said over the last three years, the town has been the recipient of various projects funded by both the national and provincial governments involving a P10-million flood control project, nutrition, disaster preparedness, infrastructure and education.
She said that Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali has extended to the municipal government projects involving the construction of gymnasium cum evacuation center, and several bags of cement for its “Bayanihan” road-concreting project in the barangays, scholarship programs for poor but deserving students and assistance to senior citizens.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development, she noted, has also released a P1.2 million-check for supplemental feeding and hog dispersal.
Belmonte-Espiritu added that the AECID or the Spanish Cooperation Agency for International Development also gave a P4-million grant to the town for disaster preparedness.
Jocelyn Ramones, provincial agrarian reform officer 1, said that early this month, they also turned over a P4.5-million water systems project to the Canaan West Potable Water Service Cooperative (CWPWSC) in Rizal town.
The project, completed in partnership with Rizal Mayor Rafaelito Andres, enabled 130 households to now avail of clean, potable water in the said town.
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