CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Notwithstanding life-threatening risks, SAAD Region 10 implementers served as the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) frontliners by providing agricultural services in Northern Mindanao amid nationwide implementation of enhanced community quarantine due to COVID-19 pandemic.
In compliance to DA Administrative Order No. 8, series of 2020, known as COVID-19 Guidelines for Service Continuity and Precautionary Measures in the Workplace, SAAD Area Coordinators (ACs) join other personnel assigned in DA 10 Provincial Operation Centers (POCs) to assist in the issuance of food lane passes.
Free food lane passes are issued by DA to food and agricultural products producers, traders and manufacturers to ensure speedy and unimpeded transportation of food and agricultural commodities passing through quarantine checkpoints. This is consistent with DA’s mandate to ensure food availability, accessibility, and affordability for every household while the community quarantine lingers.
True to the mandate, SAAD staff committed to continuously serve the region’s agriculture sector especially in this trying time. Accordingly, this is their way of contributing to the government’s effort against the pandemic.
“It is our pledge to duly serve the farmers as we join the agency (DA),” said Feby Grace Doydora (AC-Bukidnon). “We need to serve the farmers, especially in times like this. The threat is there, I am worried, but the desire to help our farmers surpasses my fear,” Ms. Doydora asserted.
Dyna Roselle Bangod, AC assigned in Lanao del Norte, chose not to be with her family during the quarantine period. “I volunteer to report to the office since there has been manpower limitation in the POC due to the volume of stakeholders that need to be attended to,” Ms. Bangod said, stressing the need to serve the food traders and dealers to ensure unhampered food supply in the province.
“As for our safety, we observe the precautionary measures as strictly as we can. Right now we are staying at the station to extend our service hours,” Ms. Bangod added.
“As a member of the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19, DA is primarily responsible to ensure food production and food supply during the quarantine period. And so, on top of their regular functions, SAAD staff assigned in the different provinces are tasked to assist in the processing and issuance of food lane passes,” said DA 10 Field Operations Division OIC Chief and SAAD Focal Person Mr. Audy G. Maagad.
As of April 8, 2020, SAAD ACs are instrumental to the issuance of at least 1,660 food lane passes in the provinces of Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis Occidental.
“What is important now, is for us to continue to be functional, monitor the SAAD farmers and look into what assistance we can extend during this time, while urging the entire SAAD workforce to keep unto their duties and responsibilities” Mr. Maagad added.
Likewise, SAAD is monitoring the situation of farmer-beneficiaries’ production in Northern Mindanao by strategically coordinating with the LGUs to enjoin the farmers as suppliers to the KADIWA ni Ani at Kita.
In addition, DA-POCs has now started the distribution of assorted vegetable seeds to the different local government units (LGUs) as inputs to backyard gardening. The initiative aims to provide the Food Always In The Home advocacy. ###
Writers: Azbie Talib and Ruth Esther Bermundo, SAAD RPMSO 10 Information Officers