The Upgrading/Concreting of Brgy. Poblacion Farm-to-Market Road (FMR), the first FMR that the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) will be implemented in the Province of Occidental Mindoro, is now set to begin its actual construction.

On May 14, 2020, despite the ongoing Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the PRDP MIMAROPA conducted a Pre-Construction Conference for the said subproject via teleconference through the Cisco Webex software.

“This is considered a milestone for the PRDP because this is the first Pre-Construction Conference via teleconference as pioneered by the MIMAROPA Regional Project Coordination Office (RPCO). We believe in the PRDP that the COVID-19 is not a hindrance for us to continue our project and provide assistance to our fellow Filipinos”, said Michael Gregory Vargas, Procurement Unit Head of the PRDP South Luzon Project Support Office.

Led by the technical consultants from the MIMAROPA RPCO, the online meeting was primarily joined by members of the Occidental Mindoro Provincial Project Management and Implementing Unit (PPMIU), and F.A. Torres Construction company.

The purpose of the conference was to refresh those who will be involved in the construction of the FMR the technical standards as well as processes that the PRDP requires in implementing infrastructure development interventions. This was done by discussing the particular terms and requirements of each component and unit, including the I-BUILD Component, Social and Environmental Safeguards Unit, Geomapping and Governance Unit, Procurement Unit, Finance Unit, and Monitoring and Evaluation Unit.

“Of course, before we go out to the field and start the project, we need this to ensure that everyone starts the job properly and continually progress as a team. Also, to know the rules and responsibilities and construction procedures for the implementation of this project,” said Engr. Remigio Masangkay, Provincial Engineer of Occidental Mindoro.

The Brgy. Poblacion FMR, located in the Municipality of Magsaysay, is 5 kilometers with an estimated cost of P95.63 million. It is surrounded by the villages of Mayapa, Lourdes, Gapasan, Nicolas, Caguray, Sibalat, and Calawag and is expected to benefit 1,672 households comprising of 8,361 individual recipients.

As indicated in the project’s feasibility study, the FMR is intended to provide logistical support to the onion farmers within the subproject’s road influence area. Through the construction of the FMR, they are expecting to encourage other individuals to cultivate more agricultural lands to increase economic productivity.

With respect to other benefits, the FMR is also expected to reduce the travel time of commuters, reduce hauling costs of inputs and outputs, and reduce transport losses to contribute to the poverty alleviation of the members of the community.