53,000 workers needed in farm-to-market road projects

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2009 03:37 PM | Updated as of Feb 23 2009 11:37 PM

Starting this week, the government will be hiring 53,000 workers to build P5.3 billion worth of farm-to-market roads (FMRs) spanning 2,000 kilometers nationwide, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said Monday.

Besides creating jobs, the road projects would also benefit over 212,000 farmers in food-producing and hunger-prone areas across the country, according to DA Secretary Arthur Yap.

Yap said more than half of the total length of these FMRs would be built in Central Philippines and the Mindanao Super Region, where major food production sites are located.

In Central Philippines, 14,190 new jobs are needed to build 567.60 kilometers of roads while another 536.94 kilometers due for construction in Mindanao will require 13,424 workers. Some 56,760 farmers in Central Philippines and 53,694 in Mindanao are expected to benefit from the road projects.

The North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle, where Yap was designated as coordinator for President Arroyo's Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program, will have 420.80 kilometers of new FMRs that will benefit 42,080 farmers and generate 10,520 jobs.

Moreover, some 366.80 kilometers of FMRs will be constructed in the Metro Luzon Urban Beltway, which include Central Luzon,  to help 36,680 farmers and create 9,170 jobs while another 230.80 kilometers of FMRs will be constructed in other priority areas identified by the DA which will create 5,770 jobs and benefit 23,080 farmers.

Yap said that in compliance with the provisions of the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act Program, these FMR projects will be located within key production areas, marginal lands or new sites under convergence initiatives to link these areas to higher road class systems and major markets or trading posts.

These FMRs will also be constructed in sites that link other non-convergence areas within the Strategic Agricultural and Fisheries Development Zones, Community-Based Forest Management Agreements, and Agrarian Reform Communities to markets and trading posts; and may be located within the areas identified by the National Nutrition Council as "very vulnerable areas," in line with the hunger mitigating measures of the government or within peace-conflicted areas.

Earlier, Malacañang ordered government agencies to frontload labor-intensive projects in line with her P330-billion economic resiliency program that is meant to stimulate the domestic economy and generate about 1.5 million jobs by mid-year.