RDC calls for joint planning for inter regional projects

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BAGUIO CITY, Aug. 30(PIA) — The Cordillera Regional Development Council(RDC-CAR) is calling for joint planning and evaluation aside from having joint monitoring of inter regional projects covering Cordillera and other regions.

“We are doing now joint monitoring but at the start we should have done joint planning of projects,” RDC-CAR Vice Chair and NEDA-CAR Regional Director Milagros Rimando pointed out said during the Joint Regional Project Monitoring Committee(RPMC) meeting of the Cordillera Administrative Region and the Cagayan Region held at the NEDA Region 2 office in Tuguegarao City last week to thresh out concerns about the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project CRPIP) and the Forestland Management Project (FMP).

Rimando explained that while there are project monitoring activities being conducted by the RDC thru the RPMC Inspectorate Team at the start of the different projects, there should be involvement of the different stakeholders particularly for inter regional projects involving at least two regions.

“We should have planned together whatever project that may cross Cordillera and the other regions to avoid problems and ensure better implementation,” she said.

Rimando said that in the past months, the several issues from the different stakeholders, local government units, the RPMC validation and the media hounded the implementation of both projects.

Among the concerns for CRPIP are non issuance of a free, prior and informed consent particularly for the affected indigenous peoples in the Cordillera, issues on Environmental Compliance Certificate and compensation of sources of water and presence of illegal Chinese workers.

The CRPIP is a flagship infrastructure project financed by China under the Duterte administration’s “Build Build Build” program with a total project cost of Php 4.372 billion. It covers the municipality of Pinukpuk in Kalinga (1,170 hectares) in the Cordillera region and Tuao (7,150 hectares) and Piat (380 has.) of Cagayan in Region 2, the main proponent of the project.

Meanwhile, issues for the FMP include the absence of a Watershed Management Council, delay in development and maintenance and protection of the Ibulao sub watershed appropriateness of the selected enterprise development projects.

The FMP is a ten-year (2012-2022) Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – Japan International Cooperation Agency project that aims to strengthen forestland management in three critical river basins through the implementation of collaborative and comprehensive Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) strategies.

The FMP is being implemented in provinces of Ifugao in the Cordillera region, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino in Region 2 and Nueva Ecija in Region 3.

The Project is expected to integrate conservation and development-oriented activities with full participation and capacitation of local communities. These include 147 people’s organizations within the identified 24 sub-watershed areas as well as the DENR and other stakeholders.

The total project investment cost is estimated at Php 5,870.64 million. Total cost to be borne by Government of Philippines is Php 1,162.26 million and total cost to be covered by the loan is Php 4,708.38 million. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)