ADB OKs P17.5-M grant for coastal management projects in Zambales
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved P17.1-million worth of livelihood assistance to fund coastal resource management projects in nine municipalities of the province.
Zambales provincial agriculturist Dr. Rene Mendoza said the selected fisherfolk, non-government organizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations will be receiving equipment, facilities and materials for predetermined livelihood projects under the Integrated Coastal Resource Management Project (ICRMP) of the Department of Agriculture.
The beneficiaries come from the towns of Sta. Cruz, Candelari, Masinloc, Palauig, Iba, Cabangan, San Felipe, San Antonio and Subic.
Zambales is the first province in Region 3 to receive funding under the ICRMP program for Enterprise Development and Income Diversification.
Provincial agriculturist Reynaldo Reologio said the ICRMP has four components: Policy and Institutional Strengthening and Development; ICRM and Biodiversity Conservation; Enterprise Development and Income Diversification; and Social and Environmental Services and Facilities.
The projects were approved after the Zambales NGOs and People’s Organizations (POs), with the assistance of the Provincial Agriculture Office (PAO), prepared and submitted project proposals for cooperative enterprises to the Department of Agriculture, which assessed the proposals.
Reoligio said the department will also be responsible for monitoring and providing further administrative and management assistance to the recipient organizations to ensure that the projects will prosper.
Funding that were initially approved for release are: P464,467.39 for a rice retailing and meat and fish processing facility in Subic town; P204,375.40 for tilapia production in San Felipe; P943,624.04 for natural salt production in Botolan; P387,074.85 for iodized salt processing and mudcrab fattening projects in Palauig; and P478,518.20 for a hog fattening farm in Sta. Cruz.
The assistance program requires that the recipient organization, upon earning back the full capital invested, can only retain 50 percent of the amount. The other half would have to be donated to a municipal federation of farmers or fishermen to fund more local entrepreneur projects, Reologio added.
“These projects augur well with the program of Governor Ebdane to develop the agriculture sector in the province,” Mendoza said.
He said under the governor’s administration, the PAO has become more active in assisting farmers and fisherfolk throughout Zambales on projects and activities that enhance their livelihood and industry.
“After the governor approved a half-million increase in our department’s budget, we have also improved our mobility and facilities and became more capable of rendering services under our mandate,” Mendoza said.
Recently, the PAO has also facilitated the distribution of gill nets to fishermen’s cooperatives in the towns of Palauig and Masinloc. Before that, the office also facilitated the distribution of 432,000 tilapia fingerlings that were dispersed in rivers and lakes in the province. By JONAS REYES - mb.com.ph