The Regional Management Council (RMC) in Ilocos Region has recently convened for the 2rd Quarter Regional Management Council (RMC) meeting held at Villa Marand Resort, Bauang La Union on August 16, 2023.

Hosted by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Region I, the RMC meeting is staged per quarter of the year, to provide updates on the various DA programs and projects being implemented for the agri-fishery sector in Ilocos Region.

Chaired by DA-RFO I Regional Executive Director Dr. Annie Q. Bares, the RMC is composed of 18 agency members including two expanded memberships representing the Regional Agriculture & Fisheries Council (RAFC) and Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (FARMC).

Presiding over the meeting, Director Bares called on the RMC members to further strengthen their collaboration and coordination with each partner agency to maximize available resources and attain inclusive growth for the agri sector in general.

“In order for us to achieve economies of scale, offices with similar plans and programs must collaborate and strategize to maximize the delivery of interventions to our stakeholders, particularly in strengthening the value chain of our agri commodities.”, she encouraged.

With the onset of the wet season when planting of palay has already started, DA hopes to distribute on time the needed interventions to support farmers in their production activities.

Under the Fuel Assistance to Farmers Project reported by Engr. Richard Neri of DA-RFO I, Region I was allocated a total of P27.84 million to provide P3,000 worth of fuel subsidy to a total of 9,280 farmer recipients for CY 2023.

Meanwhile, under the Fertilizer Discount Voucher (FDV), Ms. Leah Coloma of the Rice Banner Program provided updates on the number of distributed FDV in the region. From the targeted 394,153 hectares, a total of 162, 596 vouchers have been generated covering a total of 136,238 hectares. About 9,210 farmers have already claimed the generated FDV while 153, 388 vouchers are yet to be claimed.

The Rice Banner Program is currently fast-tracking the distribution of the FDV through a caravan to distribute the remaining vouchers to qualified farmer recipients. The FDV program is in its fourth year of implementation this 2023.

On the updates on African Swine Fever (ASF) situation in Region I, Dr. Alfiero Banaag, Chief of the DA-RFO I Regulatory Division, reported that there are a total of four Municipalities/Cities in the region with active cases of ASF affecting six barangays and 76 raisers with a reported mortality of 454 swines and a total of 1,201 heads of swine were subjected to culling. The reported active cases were from Pangasinan, La Union and Ilocos Sur provinces.

Reporting the Super Typhoon Egay damages, Ms. Irene Tactac of the Planning Monitoring & Evaluation Division (PMED) informed that as of date, the agri-fishery sector in Ilocos Region has incurred a total of Php2.66 billion in damages and losses with Ilocos Norte incurring the largest reported damages amounting to about P1.3 Billion or 50% of the total damages and losses for the region.

Next to Ilocos Norte is the province of Ilocos Sur with P647.1 million in reported damages and losses, followed by Pangasinan with P493.9 million and La Union with P200.6 million worth of reported damages. From among the sectors, Infra has the highest incurred damages at 43%, Rice at 16%, Corn at 14%, High-Value Crops at 11%, Livestock at 8%, and Fisheries at 8%.

As of date, said reports are currently being validated, and DA-RFO I has proposed a rehabilitation and recovery plan amounting to P4,138,835,430 of which P120,525,000 has available funds while the P4,018,310,430 is subject to funding.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) presented the Development of Salt Industry Project which aims to increase salt production in the region. Currently, according to BFAR, there are 42 municipalities engaged in salt production entire the region with a recorded annual production of 136.58 metric tons. A total of P10 million has been allocated to fund various development initiatives for the salt industry for CY 2023.

A representative from the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) also presented the various Agricultural Insurance Programs of PCIC under Rice and Corn, Livestock, High-Value Crops, Non-Crop Insurance, and Fisheries. He also discussed the eligibility requirements for each insurance coverage including the insurance cover limitations.

The meeting was concluded with a birthday surprise greetings for two RMC members, Ms. Vilma C. Gagni of the Philippine Carabao Center – La Union and Dr. Zaldy A. Olivas, Regional Representative of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).