Ten months since the 3.64 kilometer farm-to-market road was fully concreted from barangays Casacon and Tilasan, the World Bank evaluates if the community within the area have truly benefited from it, especially the farmers.

Department of Agriculture IX Assistant Regional Director Dennis H. Palabrica stated as he officially opened the 3-day Monitoring and Evaluation activities dubbed as Rapid Appraisal on Emerging Benefits (RAEB) in Casacon and Tilasan, R.T. Lim, Zamboanga Sibugay, early this month.

DA as lead implementing agency of the World Bank-assisted Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) has to conduct the RAEB to determine the benefits derived from the concreted FMR, Palabrica said, adding: “World Bank has to know the impacts of the road especially to the farmers whose farms are within the road influence area (RIA), how the concreted road affects to their lives, economically and socially.”

Furthermore, Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Unit Head Gemma S. Genaldo explained that RAEB is a PRDP mechanism to assess and evaluate if the development objectives of the project are achieved, specifically, “to increase rural incomes and enhance productivity of farmers and fisherfolk in targeted area.”

There were 37 farmer-respondents identified for the household interview based on the guidelines of Geo-mapping and Governance Unit (GGU). The GGU team, prior to the actual interview geotagged the farmer-respondents in their respective residences and farms to determine the distance of their farms from their houses.

Basically, farmer-beneficiaries were asked what gains they got from the concreted FMR. Respondents Edgar Anil and Reynaldo Brito shared similar terrible experience in delivering palay to buying station passing through muddy and rugged road. Both recalled that before they had to double haul their palay before they could sell it. Today, they sell their produce at farmgate because buyers would come during harvest season.

For the FGD, participants were: R.T. Lim Municipal Mayor Michael Piodena together with his Municipal Planning and Development Officer, Municipal Agriculturist, Municipal Engineer, Municipal Budget Officer, and Municipal Assessor. Facilitated by PRDP Rural Infrastructure Engineer Junars Maghuyop and Social Safeguards Officer Rammel Lasagas, the discussion was focused on MLGU’s assurance to have the Operation and Maintenance Fund to maintain the road in its good condition to last for not less than 20 years. PRDP likewise asked for MLGU’s compliance to its Environmental Safeguards Management Plan.

Another FGD was conducted with Casacon and Tilasan barangay officials. They were grouped separately, headed by their respective barangay chairman. For Barangay Tilasan, chairwoman Adela Hersamio declared they regularly conduct clean-up activities so as to maintain the road in good condition. During rainy season, culverts and canals have to be declogged, debris on the spillway should be removed to prevent flooding.

Since rubber is the main commodity in both barangays the KII participants were rubber traders.

Results of the survey would serve as basis for project management should there be a need for enhancement of the project implementation, Genaldo said.

PRDP’s National Project Coordination Office sent Economist Mirriam S. Gutierrez to supervise the RAEB activities, which include a focus group discussion (FGD), key informant interview (KII) and household interview. Likewise, Project Support Office RAEB team assisted the Regional Project Coordination Office for the said activity.#

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