Philippine Rural Development Project promotes ‘culture of no corruption,’ says agri chief

The new agriculture chief believes the World Bank-assisted rural development project of the Department of Agriculture contributes to the administration's goal of a corrupt-free government.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel PiAol said the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) is aligned with the Duterte administration's agenda of making sure that public funds are used properly.

"I believe the PRDP is in sync [with] the advocacy of President Duterte to get rid of corruption in government," PiAol said on the sidelines of the 7th SOCKCSARGEN Area Development Program Board meeting where he sits as chairman.

With a total funding of P27.5 billion, the PRDP is a six-year flagship rural development strategy designed to create a platform for a modern, climate-smart and market-oriented agri-fishery sector. The Project is expected to help create more economic opportunities in rural communities, hence increasing family incomes.

"[The] World Bank has been very stringent on its policy to get rid of corruption and in implementing its projects. There has always been clear policy that there should be no corruption," PiAol said.

"I know this because I started with the MRDP as early as 1998. I was one of the first players of the MRDP Program as governor of North Cotabato," he added, citing that with his active participation in the Program, the province then was hailed one of the top performers.

The MRDP or the Mindanao Rural Development Program is the predecessor of the PRDP.

"With the culture of no corruption, we are contributing to changing the culture of the Philippine political leaders," PiAol said.

Further, PiAol also noted that among the complaints of LGUs is the long and tedious process of project approval.

"We have to respect and observe the process. If you want development you have to respect the process and [LGUs] have to abide by the rules and the guidelines of the [Project]," he stressed.

PRDP national deputy project director Arnel de Mesa in a separate interview added that the best practices of the MRDP on transparency have been adopted and even enhanced by PRDP.

"The use of geotagging technology, one of the best practices in MRDP proven to be very effective in monitoring and evaluation, as well as in transparency and governance, [is now] widely applied in the PRDP," de Mesa said.

"In PRDP, we level up our transparency measures by putting additional scientific tools so that our targeting of LGUs, beneficiaries and interventions are appropriate for the location and the people," de Mesa added.

Source: Philippine Information Agency