BICOL, January 17, 2023 – In preparation for the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program’s Phase 2 implementation, its organizing body in the Bicol Region underwent a two (2) – day refresher course on community organizing (CO), farmer’s registration, and enterprise establishment to provide improved service to the covered communities for Phase 2.
The implementation of the program’s Phase 2, which will commence in fiscal year (FY) 2023, will cover 20 new and current municipalities in the provinces of Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon.
The main area selection consideration is based on Department of Finance data in which the program only considers 5th-6th income class municipalities, alongside being in the top one-third poorest municipalities based on PSA Small Area Estimates (2018). SAAD Phase 2 will prioritize assisting groups with registrations where individual members are considered living below the poverty threshold.
Individual beneficiaries will no longer receive assistance and instead will be organized into farmers’ organizations. The program aims to assist at least 60 farmers’ associations (FAs) in the region for FY 2023-2028.
Table 1. Municipalities under SAAD Bicol for FY 2023-2028
*new covered areas
The two-day training was participated by SAAD Bicol’s Provincial Program Management Support Office (PPMSO) staff in Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon, along with the Regional Program Management Support Office (RPMSO) staff led by the SAAD Focal Person Dr. Mary Grace DP. Rodriguez. Also in attendance were Agriculture Program Coordinating Officers (APCO) for Catanduanes, Rafael S. Magallanes; for Masbate, Wilfredo Nelmida; and Engr. Roser Rebellon for Sorsogon. Regional Dairy Production and Technology Center (RTDC) Superintendent, Peter Oliver was also present at the training.
Community Organizing with DSWD Camarines Sur
The activity discussed and highlighted the process of community organizing as an essential foundation for SAAD Area and Provincial Coordinators, and Technical Staff focusing on assisting communities in establishing an organization. Further, community organizing helps identify issues that affect the areas and fosters inclusivity, especially in marginalized communities. This was discussed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) in Camarines Sur Project Development Officer II, Mr. Dan Paul L. Puse.
The speaker then enumerated community organizing steps such as Social Preparation, followed by Resource Mobilization Phase, Project Monitoring and Evaluation, and lastly, Sustainability and Project Mainstreaming, which are parallel to the existing SAAD four (4) major components. While familiar with the practice, said discussion is a necessary preparatory discourse for new and existing SAAD communities and areas in the Bicol Region for 2023-2028. Further, proper community immersion processes were also provided to the participants.
Moving forward, DSWD Camarines Sur Project Development Officer II, Mr. Neil B. Benoyo introduced the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis, which is vital to the planning phase. SWOT will help the organizations assess and resolve challenges that they will encounter.
Being a government-funded program, SAAD upholds efficiency and timeliness of the project implementation hence the discussion on proper visualization of the time component in the execution.
The participants actively engaged in the SWOT Analysis banking from their experiences in the implementation of SAAD’s Phase 1. All three participating provinces identified the farmers’ dedication and commitment as their strength; remoteness of areas as their weakness; the marketability of their harvests as their opportunity; and looming calamities as threats.
“It is important for us to embody a cooperative spirit to further empower our farmers and help them keep up with the constant change of pace in the community. SAAD is preparing for its Phase 2 implementation, and I am thankful for the extra knowledge I gained in this training,” SAAD Area Coordinator for Pilar, Sorsogon, Jonas Guañizo shared.
Refresher Course on Farmer’s Registration with DOLE Camarines Sur
To properly orient prospective farmer-beneficiaries for FY 2023-2028 on the livelihood packages of SAAD, another set of training that tackles the Registration of Rural Workers Associations (RWA) was held, spearheaded by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Camarines Sur Administrative Officer, Michael S. Albaño.
The rural workers’ registration to DOLE helps legitimize interested farmers belonging to an association through legitimate enlistment, opening more opportunities and easier access to projects and assistance from both non-government and government agencies. These advantages can be useful to SAAD FAs that wish to continue receiving agricultural and marketing assistance from other DA banner programs and other Government and Non-government Organizations (NGO) even after the SAAD Program.
Meanwhile, first-time attendee and SAAD Catanduanes Information Officer Jovinel Gianan was grateful for the opportunity of being able to participate in the 2-day training. “Nagin mas klarado an pag-iintindi ko sa proseso kan pag apply kan mga FAs ta. Mas magigin madali na an pagproseso kan mga papeles ta aram mi na an tamang flow,” (We now have a clearer understanding of how we can help our farmers register. It will be easier to process paperworks now that we know the right flow) said Mr. Gianan.
SAAD’s Phase 2 starts this FY 2023. Organizing farmers is a crucial phase in community welfare advancement through SAAD and similar projects following the consolidation of resources to strengthen production capacity. With the commencement of the next phase and new coverage, the program remains committed to holistic policy and capacity improvement for finer implementation, toward poverty alleviation and livelihood sustainability among the marginalized sector. ###
Writer: Juan Paulo A. Quizana, DA-SAAD Bicol Information Officer
Maribeth A. Mangalino, DA-SAAD Bicol Report Officer
Jovinel M. Gianan, DA-SAAD Catanduanes Information Officer
Pauline Trixia D. Borja, DA-SAAD Sorsogon Information Officer
Jonas Guañizo, DA-SAAD Sorsogon Area Coordinator
Photo Source: DA-SAAD Bicol RPMSO