|Hon. Proceso J. Alcala wows the crowed with the P115,435,580.50 worth of programs, projects and interventions for turn-over, award and raffle to various farmers and irrigators associations recipients. Among these projects are the Small Water Impounding Projects (SWIP), Farm to Market Roads (FMR), farm machineries and equipment such as 4-wheel drive tractors, hand tractors, pump and engine sets and collapsible dryers. Assorted vegetables as well as bottom set gillnet and tilapia fingerlings in support to the high value commercial crops program and fisheries sector was also awarded to the farmer and fisherfolk beneficiaries. Included in the raffle are: knapsack power sprayers, pump and engine sets, farmalite, carabao with implements, native piglets and goats.|
True to his commitment of serving the farmers since day one of his term as the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, and with farmers clamoring to extend his term beyond the Aquino administration, Hon. Secretary Proceso Alcala made sure that for as long as he holds the highest position as Food Czar, farmers will continue to feel the responsive support of DA to them.
Thus, bringing with him agri-development projects worth P115M, Sec. Alcala met with farmer leaders and association members during a Farmers Forum held at the Umingan Municipal Auditorium in Umingan, Pangasinan on January 26, 2016.
Alcala led the distribution of various agri-equipment to farmer-association beneficiaries such as two units 4-wheel drive tractors, four units hand tractors, three units pump and engine sets, five collapsible dryer cases, assorted vegetables as well as bottom set gillnet and tilapia fingerlings from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). He also awarded the Certificates of Turn-over of the completed DA funded Farm to Market Road Project worth P 13M, and five Small Water Impounding Projects worth PhP70M.
With a crowd estimate of around 4,000 Alcala thanked the overwhelming display of eagerness from the people to be further informed about the on-going programs of DA as they positively responded to the message of the Secretary assuring them that DA has enough funds to continually pursue more projects and programs for the farmers.
“Ang ating gobyerno po ay tumututok sa pangangailangan ng nakararaming magsasaka at mangingisda at ng buong sektor ng agrikultura. Hindi po problema ang pondo ngunit kailangan lang po nating gastusin ito ng tama, bantayan po natin at siguraduhing ang benepisyo ay dadaloy hanggang sa maliliit nating magsasaka at mangingisda sa bawat rehiyon.”, Alcala said.
To prove that they have felt the assistance and support of DA and truly helped improve their lives, some farmers gave testimonies on how DA projects helped alleviate their livelihood as farmers.
Mr. Virgilio Ferrer, Vice Chairman of the Ricos Irrigators Association claimed that his income together with his fellow farmers in barangay Ricos have doubled due to the availability of water supply from the constructed SWIP in their area which enabled them to plant rice in two cropping seasons and for the first time were also able to plant hybrid rice.
Mr. Mamerto Santos, General Manager of St. Paschal MPC of San Quintin, Pangasinan happily narrated how their cooperative successfully evolved through the help of the DA in the Region. According to Mr. Santos, hrough DA's provision of various projects and services like farm machineries, production inputs and post harvest facilities, their coop is now considered as pillar of development in Pangasinan since members of their association tripled in number while their net asset increased to Php19M.
Brgy. Capt. Jesus Espiritu of Brgy. Luna East, Umingan, Pangasinan, a beneficiary of the Farm to Market Road constructed in Brgys. Prado and Sta. Maria in Umingan likewise shared their story. He informed that they could now conveniently haul their agri-commodities from their farm to the Poblacion reducing their usual travel time from one hour to half an hour.
He likewise thanked DA for giving the necessary production inputs such as seeds and fingerlings that greatly contributed to their income. He took the opportunity to request from the Secretary provision of cold storage facility and value adding technology for their major vegetable commodity produced which is squash.
With a positive response to the testimony of Mr. Espirito, Sec. Alcala revealed that in two weeks time, DA will be issuing the No Objection Letter (NOL1) to the municipality of Umingan for the construction of another FMR in Brgy. Prado funded under the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) worth around P120M. The issuance of NOL1 signals the commencement of the procurement works for the project.
Alcala also informed that DA in partnership with the seed producers will continue on providing high quality seeds as planting materials for the whole Province of Pangasinan. Also, with the establishment of the Rice Processing Center in Umingan, Pangasinan Alcala said that this will assure quality supply of rice for the people.
During the Forum, farmers mostly inquired from the Secretary availability of programs and projects that will respond to their common needs for inputs such as seeds, fertilizer subsidy, and request for post-harvest equipment and facilities.
Awed by the positive response of the crowd, Sec. Alcala provided additional assistance in the form of a raffle draw for 15 heads of carabao and 15 heads of goat (buck) that was given as grant to the lucky farmer-winners. Also given away through the raffle were 4 units knapsack sprayers, 10 units pump and engine sets, 50 units farmalite and 3 sets of native piglets where 1 set is composed of 1 male and 2 female piglets.
The Secretary, together with DA Undersecretary for Field Operations USEC Emerson U. Palad, were assisted during the visit by Local officials of Pangasinan headed Governor Amado Espino and Umingan Mayor Eldred Tumbocon, members of the Regional Management Council of DA-Region I headed by DA-Regional Executive Director Valentino C. Perdido.