Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Entrepreneurial Farmer

DA 6 Coordinates With LGUs 
On Project Implementation
by Ambrosio R. Villorente

The Department of Agriculture RFO 6 conducted recently a planning and budgeting workshop among local government units in Western Visayas to intensify the implementation of the different programs and projects.

“This Planning and Budgeting Workshop is one of the strategies of the DA in order to work harmoniously in the conduct of our programs and projects,” said DA-Regional Technical Director Manuel O. Olanday. “We have encountered different problems before. May this workshop helps us minimize and prevent backlogs in carrying out our projects in the municipal level,” he added.

The workshop is a proactive initiative of the DA wherein the thrusts and priorities are narrowed down to the municipal level. The municipal mayors, municipal agriculturists, provincial agriculturists, and other agricultural stakeholders who are directly linked to the implementation of the project attended.

The workshop is a venue for DA, local government units and congressional representatives to craft more coordinated proposals. Issues between DA and LGUs that affect the conduct of the project are ironed-out, as well. In order to strengthen the system, comments and suggestions from the participants are considered.
The lack of personnel in the LGU level and the liquidation of the projects are just two of the many problems identified during the implementation. RTD Olanday encouraged the municipalities to strictly follow the time frame for the execution of the project. “Once the project is carried out, the implementer liquidates and monitors the project,” said Olanday. 

Area To Improve

One area to strengthen is the personnel in agriculture. The Filipino farmers need teachers or tutors in agri-business. Not only on agricultural technology where they have inadequate knowledge, they are also in need for assistance in farm financing and agri-marketing.

Farm technology is just one component in agri-business. The farmers must have money to finance their project, materials, and equipment. They must also know the climate and season. Hence, the farmers must be provided the maximum assistance at all times in all their farm activities.

In credit for instance, farmers must be assisted in the preparation of loan documents. But where are the agricultural technicians who can tutor the farmers?

The Department of Agriculture, headed by its director with very limited personnel has offices in the regions. There is no DA personnel in the provincial, municipal and barangay levels. The former Bureau of Agricultural Extension was abolished and the 20,000 Agricultural Extension personnel were devolved to the provincial, city, and municipal governments. However, today their jobs depend on the whims and caprices of the governors and mayors.

Agricultural extension to assist the farmers in their farm operation must be strengthened. This is the means in the quest to conquer poverty. 

Ill Managed Airport

Retired Ambassador Wilfrido Villacorta commented on the KIA as “the worst airport I ever passed by”. Villacorta was the former Philippine Ambassador and representative to the ASEAN. He has traveled to 60 different countries and passed through their respective airports, but “ours is the worst” airport. It does not live up to the motto “TODO ASENSO” he said.

I was in the KIA arrival area for about two hours to welcome my guests from Manila. Their Cebu Pacific flight from Manila was delayed for about two hours. Their plane waited until it could have landing space at KIA.

Meanwhile, I lingered inside the terminal. Nobody asked me what is my business being there. I went to the comfort room. I found it filthy, too small for a place where thousands of people pass by daily. There is no urinal except the two bowls.

After an hour, a plane landed. The baggage conveyor was switched on. After all the baggage were claimed, the passengers left for their respective destinations. The airport and plane officials left too. The baggage conveyor was left running. I waited for someone to switch off the conveyor. No one came. After 30 minutes, I stood up and switched off the conveyor.

That is the style of management at the Kalibo International Airport. The security is too loose which explains why undocumented person was able to board an aircraft and travelled abroad. Some airport personnel are negligent of their duties which makes airport operation incur unnecessary expenses. CAAP must look for a management team to improve KIA management. /MP

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