BORONGAN CITY, June 5,2017–Five parliamentarians from European Union member countries were in town recently to see for themselves how Official Development Assistance (ODA) is utilized and how it helps improve peoples’ lives.
The visit of the MPs from Estonia, Slovak Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, and Czech Republic was facilitated by People in Need (PIN),a Czech NGO, currently engaged in developmental work in the province.
Pavel Muron, Provincial Manager of PIN said that the objective of the visit was for the MPs to learn about their work and see “if the funds are used and spent wisely and efficiently”.
PIN is currently working in 12 southern towns of Eastern Samar where they are implementing programs on enhancing sustainable incomes and market development–that is ensuring market for farm produce.
The MPs also had the chance to dialogue with Vice Governor Marcelo Picardal who briefed the foreign lawmakers on the situation in the province especially on rehabilitation efforts after super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
They had an exchange of ideas and practices about legislative work in their respective countries. In particular, they were interested to know about the government’s anti-poverty program, the provincial development and disaster risk reduction plan, agriculture and tourism.
While there is a marked improvement in the lives of our people, the Vice Governor said that the “bigger challenge is how to sustain it” and the fact remains that the province is one of the poorest in the country.
He stressed that the province still needs help from the international community, but any assistance “should focus less on infrastructure and more on human resource development”.
One of the projects they visited was the cacao nursery and cassava plantation and processing in Salcedo, made possible with assistance from PIN. They were impressed by how it is slowly changing the economic status of farmers.
“It is encouraging to see people rise up from disaster and do things even better than before”, Virginijus Sinkevicius, a lawmaker from Lithuania said.
Assistance from the European Union poured in after typhoon Haiyan and most of the fund was used in the construction of evacuation centers, waste disposal facilities, disaster resilient shelters and livelihood programs.
Their visit comes at a time when the national leadership declared that the country will not accept assistance from the European Union.
But according to Slovak lawmaker Lubos Blaha “we will continue to help and we should invest more in developmental aid since stability in the world will come only from social justice”.
Other members of the group were Pavel Plzak, from Czech Republic, Rainer Vakra from Estonia and Rihard Kols from Latvia. (Eden Cidro/Este News)