EU-funded project in Davao region celebrates end, beginning

Jul. 13, 2007

By Mai Gevera

After more than eight years in Southern Mindanao, the Upland Development Programme (UDP) funded by the European Union finally closed the agriculture-based program with most stakeholders and beneficiaries satisfied.

As its legacy to the Filipino community, the said program developed the Sustainable Upland Development Model (SUD) which was recently supported by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through executive order 606 to ensure the sustainable upland development.

EO 606 was claimed by UDP implementers as the start of the new beginning for upland development as a national policy requiring local government units to ensure sustainable agriculture and forest protection using the SUD model.

European Commission head of delegation Alistair Macdonald expressed appreciation to all the stakeholders of the program for putting the P1.08 billion project fund into good use and transforming the life of about 30 million Filipinos.

We may not confidently say that its a perfect program but indeed it has addressed poverty and promoted peace in this part of the Philippines., he said.

UDP co-director Dashiel Indelible measured development by the increase in income of farmers, better road networks, and increase in their production.

League of Municipalities of the Philippines officer Givel Mamaril, also an active promoter of the program, bared that the biggest accomplishment of UDP is the concept which capacitated local government leaders to become more active and responsible in prioritizing upland development.

Seeing the improvement of most municipalities which benefited from the program, the LMP willingly embraced the role of replicating the program to other municipalities in the country.

The same group is establishing a Mayors Development Center each in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. It is in this establishment that trainings for technology transfer will be held for local leaders and farmers.

A regular television program is also regularly aired where champion mayors could share and discuss success stories worth replicating.

The Department of Agriculture, for its part, also expressed support to the model as it is willing to gather support from other agencies to sustain and continue the model left by the Upland Development Programme.

The European Commission, as the funding donor, could only remain in the background as it believes that development was seen with the intended funding money that the said commission allocated for especially in agriculture.

However, it is open in providing any other technical support to ensure continuity and sustainability of the model. (PIA XI/Mai Gevera)

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