QUEZON CITY, November 11, 2022 – President of the Republic, and Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. meets the Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Region 8 farmer-beneficiaries during the DA-SAAD partners’ forum, an event featuring “Mga kuwento ng pagpupunyagi” – the SAAD Saga on November 8, 2022.
On November 8, 2022, the Chief Executive graced the 9th year commemoration of the Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) devastation in the country, in one of the most battered areas – Tacloban City. The ceremony was held in the Holy Cross Memorial Garden, Barangay Basper.
Meanwhile, the SAAD Saga held its program for this year’s biggest convergence of different agencies led and organized by the DA with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Leyte Academic Center, Palo, Leyte.
Agencies converged for a wide distribution of assistance to various marginalized sectors. The Rehiyon Otso (8) SAAD Saga awarding was attended by SAAD Director Ulysses J. Lustria, Jr., DA-Regional Field Office 8 executives – Regional Executive Director (RED) Angel C. Enriquez, Regional Technical Director (RTD) Larry U. Sultan, RTD Elvira C. Torres; Provincial executives – Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan, Northern Samar Governor Edwin M. Ongchuan, Southern Leyte Governor Damian G. Mercado, and Leyte Governor Carlos Jericho L. Petilla; Acting Regional Director of Cooperative Development Authority Dir. Venus M. Jornales and other regional government executive leaders; and more than 550 SAAD partner-farmers from more than a hundred SAAD farmers associations (FAs).
SAAD Saga Region 8 recognized 10 FAs for their exemplary management and performance in the five (5) SAAD-covered provinces in Eastern Visayas. The associations were: Palayanon Unlad Farmers Association (PUFA), and Balao Farmers Association from Leyte, Esperanza Bontoc Farmers Irrigators Association (EBFIA) and Magatas Rice Farmers Association (MRFA) from Southern Leyte, G.M. Osias Pambansang Mananalon Magbabaol Maguuma Magsasaka ng Pilipinas (P4MP) and Chitongco Farmers Association from Northern Samar, Lucerdoni Farmers and Fisherfolks Association (LUFFA) and Nagkaurusa nga Kababayen-an san Danao 1 from Samar, and lastly Brgy. Alang-alang Organic Farmers Association (BAOFA) and Pingan Vegetable and Livestock Producer from Eastern Samar.
Agri pop-up booths were also built to showcase locally grown and made products from their projects composed of poultry, high-value crops, and value-added products such as chips, cookies, and other delicacies. Thirty-two (32) FAs from four provinces participated in the pop-up booths.
Upon arrival at the SAAD Saga, President Marcos Jr. delivered his keynote address, ensuring the beneficiaries of different agencies that sustained assistance and interventions is one of the priorities of the current administration.
“Putting at the top of our priority list is the continuing assistance, at ang assistance hindi lamang iyon ‘ayuda’, kundi pati na sa mga livelihood (projects), pati sa mga MSMEs na tinatawag.”
(Putting at the top of our priority list is continuing assistance, and this assistance is not limited to doling out compensation, this also includes livelihood projects, especially to what we call MSMEs [Micro, Small, and Medium-sized enterprises].)
According to the President, “Kailangan pa natin tugunan ang presyo ng commodities. Kailangan magkaron ng sapat na kita ang mga mamamayan. Kami bilang gobyerno ay nandito upang tumulong at hindi kami aalis hanggang hindi namin nakikita na kaya nyo na mag-sarili. Dahan-dahan, aabot din tayo diyan. Hindi mabilis ang pagbabago, but we are going in the right direction.”
(We need to respond to fluctuating prices of commodities. Our citizens need to have sufficient income. We, in the government, are here to help out and we will not stop until we see that you can stand on your own. Slowly we will attain our goal. Progress cannot be attained swiftly, but we are going in the right direction.)
He then led the distribution of Php 5,000 to 1,200 farmers as part of the Rice Farmer Financial Assistance Program of the DA, and disinfection trucks given to the provincial government of Southern Leyte and the municipality of Allen in Northern Samar.
DOH also turned over 20 ambulances to select municipalities of Leyte, while the DSWD provided cash assistance to beneficiaries of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) Program, and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) distributed laptops to beneficiaries of the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Teach4ED program.
Lastly, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) gave out cash assistance to citizens under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD).
“Ayuda” or cash or non-cash assistance is the government’s short-term, immediate mechanism to address the worsening impact of poverty and economic setbacks in the country. Adhering to its mandate, the DA consistently seeks ways to promote and inject sustainability initiatives into its projects to foster independence and self-sufficiency among its beneficiaries. ###
Writers: DA-SAAD NPMO Information Officers