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PAFEC Bohol: Mandanas resource comes with more responsibilities

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, April 15 (PIA) -- The Mandanas ruling may have increased the local government unit share in the National Tax Allocations making them richer in resources, but with it comes great responsibilities.

This summed up the statement of Bohol Province-led Agriculture and Fisheries Extension Services Center (PAFEC) Coordinator Cecille Opada, who added that with the devolution, national services of the Department of Agriculture (DA) are now cascaded to the regional and provincial offices.

In Bohol, the newly established PAFES Center is inside the Governor’s Mansion in Tagbilaran.

Local government units (LGUs) must own up to the task of local food production system that would be based on the establishment of an additional division, putting up the manpower and setting up operations of an office that would be tasked to plan and implement such.

And while the LGUs are still setting up their systems, hiring manpower and starting up their engines, the PAFEC can help, said Opada. 

The PAFEC, as the provincial extension hub, has a pool of experts for every commodity closely monitored by the DA Agricultural Training Institute that farmers and extension workers in the towns can consult and seek technical assistance as well as coordinate to submit their development proposals for funding purposes.

With the PAFEC, agricultural extension services are now made even more accessible to the farmers, and this also solves the limited manpower that the regional field office is facing.

Excluded, however, is the Agricultural Machinery and Equipment Support Services, which the DA Regional Field Office can still continue to hand out the service.   

Established in preparations for full devolution as the Mandanas ruling provides, the PAFEC will be a halfway house for extension services before the first to third class LGUs can create their own Agricultural and Bio-systems Engineering Sections and Divisions in their towns, Opada said.

For 4th to 6th class municipalities who could not yet afford to set up such section or division in their towns, the DA through the Regional Field Office Agricultural Biosystems Engineering (ABE) Division takes care of their extension service needs, she added.

With the division created, the town can hire an agriculture and bio-systems engineer who would be trained on how to create local plans, design irrigation facilities, create machinery specifications in reference to suitability to the local terrain and requirements, added Opada. 

On this move, many farmers see it as a more open government that now allows more of the farmers inputs on what they can produce and decide on specific interventions, unlike then when there was pervasive belief that the country’s food production is more of imposed upon them.

The shift, however, would have to be gradual, that the need for a PAFEC is critical in bringing down the technology and the skill to the municipal level, Opada reiterated.

As this set-up of the ABE and the PAFEC continues, an LGU inventory of agricultural machinery and equipment to help determine the level of mechanization at least of the rice commodity will be put up. 

She said at least four of the towns have already started their inventory, and DA staff from the Philippine Center of Post harvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMECH) is coming to train farmers on the equipment use, operation, maintenance and servicing in preparation for their own LGU operations.

Opada identified the towns of Talibon, Trinidad, San Miguel, and Garcia Hernandez which have adopted the agriculture machinery registration, and until then the DA can help. (RAHC/PIA7 Bohol)

PAFEC Bohol Coordinator Cecille Opada (R) explains the need for LGUs to set up a new section in their Agricultural Bio-Systems Engineering (ABE) to hire manpower and who will devise plans to bring a more achievable food production program. (PIA Bohol)

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Rey Anthony Chiu

Regional Editor

Region 7

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