Bridges, pathways, access roads, and similar infrastructure will soon rise in select project sites of the Forestland Management Project (FMP) to provide its stakeholders better mobility and accessibility to various goods and services.
The construction of these infrastructure facilities falls under the Agroforestry Support Facilities (ASF) component of the Project. With the promise of better accessibility, the facilities will help improve the productivity of agroforestry farms managed by FMP’s partner people’s organization.
The Japan Government – through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the funding institution of FMP – will provide PhP 518 million under loan to shoulder a bigger chunk of the total construction cost of PhP 549 million. The remaining PhP 31 million will be covered by the Philippine Government.
Laying the Right Foundations
Before the construction starts, FMP has laid down the foundations to ensure that proper processes are followed in the procurement of construction firms who will assume the necessary civil works.
Part of this is the creation of a Special Approval Committee (SAC) that will facilitate the review and approval of proposed ASF infrastructure, ensuring that these meet the set standards for technical design, social and environmental acceptability, financial viability, and other documentation requirements.
The resolution of approval passed by the SAC will be the basis for the FMP Central Project Management Office to issue the notice to procure – a required document to proceed with the procurement of a construction firm who will take on the construction of an infrastructure subproject.
The SAC concluded its first meeting on October 10, 2017 to discuss and deliberate the submitted ASF subprojects for approval. During the meeting, additional activities were identified such as the creation of a Special Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) or a BAC Technical Working Group to oversee the procurement process for the ASF subprojects.
Coordination with concerned local government units (LGUs) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) will be ensured in order to identify and address issues and concerns prior to the start of any civil work.
Clearances and compliance documents such as the Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC) / Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) shall also be secured from the Environment Management Bureau to facilitate the approval and procurement of the infrastructure subprojects.
Subprojects in the Pipeline
Currently, two out of the seven ASF subproject proposals are already approved for procurement based on the recent agreements reached by the SAC. These include the construction of the Pallas-Nansiakan Tire Path in Brgy. Pallas, Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya, and the Lower Ammoweg Reinforced Concrete Deck Girder (RCDG) Bridge in Brgy. Ammoweg, Ambaguio, Nueva Vizcaya.
The Pallas-Nansiakan Tire Path costs PhP 13.7 million. Stretching to about 3.2 kilometers, it was proposed by the Nansiakan-Labang Forestland Management Association, Inc. (NLFMAI) with the endorsement and support of the Municipality of Kayapa in Nueva Vizcaya.
About 1,800 community members are expected to benefit from the construction of the tire path. This would contribute to the socio-economic development of the area by alleviating transportation plights in the delivery of goods, services, and other produce.
The Lower Ammoweg RCDG Bridge, another infrastructure in the pipeline, costs PhP 22 million. Proposed through the collective efforts of Indigenous Peoples Organizations supported by FMP, the bridge is expected to benefit 15,300 residents of the eight barangays of the Municipality of Ambaguio. Apart from better access to agroforestry plantations of the Project, the bridge is perceived to improve the delivery of public services in the immediate area where it will be constructed.
Procurement of the construction firms is expected by the end of November or by the first week of December 2017.
Other ASF infrastructure sub-projects that are still in the process of complying with the necessary documents for the approval of procurement include the improvement of Namal Access Road in Ifugao, construction of the Nantawakan Tire Path in Nueva Vizcaya; construction of the Nursery-Capacnaan Tire Path in Nueva Vizcaya, construction of the Jayubo-Cabatangan Pathway in Iloilo, and the concreting of the So. Sinipit-So. Pamalayan Access Road in Nueva Ecija. (FMP/ Paolo G. Balderia)