Quezon City, Philippines- As main financing institution of the Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project (INREMP), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) conducted a field review mission to monitor the progress of the project, discuss the technical and financial status as well as the challenges requiring solutions and to update the project administration manual and write out an action plan for the next three months to keep track the current year’s target objectively.
The Mission Team was comprised of Takeshi Ueda, ADB Principal Natural Resources and Agriculture Economist and Mission Leader; Cecile Ramiro, Senior Operations Officer, Karen Chua, Operations Officer, Judy Vermudo, Associate Safeguards Officer (Resettlement), Edwin Lara, Safeguards Officer (Environment), and Technical Consultants: Thierry Liabastre, Hyunyoung Song, Lila Mallory, and Francesco Ricciardi. Present also were the DENR implementers from National Project Coordinating Office down to Watershed level project officers, representation from NEDA and CESM project’s Technical Assistance - Project Management Implementation Consultant (TA-PMIC) and other partner agencies such as DA, DTI, and NCIP.
The Review Mission looked into the degree of implementation in the four priority Upper River Basins (URBs) of the project. The mission team visited and explored the Natural Resources Management (NRM) in Agroforestry of TAPSOLELET in Tapapan Bauko; Reforestation by Kaublan Organization Members in Bontoc, Mt. Province; Agroforestry site of San Carlos Association for Rehabilitation of Environmental Denudation (SCARED) in Danao, Bohol; Basyawon-Kisulop Small Upland Farmers Association (BKSUFA) in Bukidnon, and Commercial Tree Plantation (CTP) and Reforestation (Refo) of Pantao-Raya Farmers Organization in Lanao del Sur. As for the Rural Infrastructure (RI) subproject the team had seen the ongoing access road rehabilitation in Barangay New Kidapawan, Kibawe, Bukidnon; Panghagban to Catigbian Road in Buenavista, Bohol and Tapapan-Lebao Kubabeng farm to market road in Bauko.
Meanwhile, in order for the mission team to have a better appreciation to the Livelihood Enhancement Support (LES) proposals, the women members of SCARED demonstrated the manual production of cassava chips, camote juice, camote jam, and camote ketchup to the team. They also stopped by at the Madchikom Coffee Producers Cooperative coffee processing facility in Sagada, Mt. Province which was supported by DTI.
It was a rare experience to most of the team members listening to Maranao kulintang music, dancing to the beat of Igorot gongs and solibao and breaking bread with our appreciative farmer participants who eagerly shared their harvest of durian, marang, and other fruits in season. The Mission Team set forth their appreciation and gratitude from the different cultural and traditional warm welcomes of the respective URBs. Kick-off meetings, open fora, and exit conferences were organized so as the team has a better understanding and engagement to the People and Indigenous Peoples Organization (PO/IPO), alongside with the project implementers, partner agencies and other stakeholders.
ADB responded to each of the concerns yielding each parties’ suggestions, recommendations, and possible resolutions in order to build and sustain a well-developed INREM Project. As averred by Mr. Takeshi Ueda, “We really appreciate your hard work, let's work closely with each other and challenge ourselves to work hand in hand to make this project moving forward.”
To summarize the findings gathered from the Annual Review Mission, a wrap-up meeting was held last October 19, 2018, which was chaired by DENR-Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, and International Affairs Atty. Jonas R. Leones. He opened the meeting by expressing his appreciation to the Mission Team for successfully carrying out the Review Mission. Similarly, Dr. Jiangfeng Zhang, Director of Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture, positively responded and conveyed his gratitude in behalf of the Asian Development Bank. Heads of the project implementing unit, representatives from Regional Coordinating Offices, partner agencies such as NEDA, DOF, MDFO, DA, DTI, and project’s consultants were also present on the said activity and expounded their concerns as well.
Mr. Ueda presented and discussed their overall findings on their Annual Review Mission for all the regions and sites they had visited. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was drafted, wherein issues requiring solutions and next steps that require immediate action was agreed upon. The MOU will be signed by the DENR and ADB very shortly.