Monday, March 21, 2016

PCAF Volunteers’ Day: A tribute to outstanding AFC chairpersons and coordinators

Unceasing contribution of valued time, talent, skills and resources.

These are the qualities that are evident to every Agricultural and Fishery Council (AFC) chairpersons and coordinators that made them a true-blue volunteer of the agriculture and fishery industry.

After 29 years since the founding of the AFC, the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) marked the first-ever awarding of outstanding AFC chairpersons and coordinators on March 9, 2016 at Hotel H2O in Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

The event was the highlight of PCAF’s celebration of its inaugural Volunteers’ Day.

Out of 1,728 AFCs from 16 regions, 82 provinces, 19 cities and 1,611 municipalities, six individuals were recognized for their significant dedication and selfless services as council chairpersons and coordinators.

The AFC is PCAF’s mechanism for private sector participation in the agriculture and fisheries development processes at the regional, provincial and municipal level.

The search aims to acknowledge the remarkable contributions and effort of deserving incumbent Regional AFC (RAFC) Chairperson, Provincial AFC (PAFC) Chairperson, Municipal AFC (MAFC) Chairperson as well as the RAFC Coordinator, PAFC Coordinator, and MAFC Coordinator.

The search, headed by PCAF Exec. Director Ariel Cayanan, started last August 2015. Aside from plaque, the winners received cash prizes worth PhP60,000 each.

The Voice and Bridges of Agriculture and Fishery Sector

For the Outstanding RAFC Chairperson, Vincent Adorna of Region 1 was hailed for his significant contribution and participation as a volunteer in the council for 15 years.

One of his accomplishments was filing of a resolution for the conduct of an investigation of oil spill along the coastal area of Pangasinan and La Union, which has greatly affected the livelihood of the farmers and fisherfolk.

Last year’s DA-Gawad Saka Outstanding PAFC was awarded to PAFC Quirino Province, under the leadership of Dante Tobias.

This year, Tobias bagged the PCAF’s recognition for Outstanding PAFC Chairperson for his dedication in the agriculture and fishery sector. Among these contributions is the passing of a resolution prohibiting the indiscriminate use of Glyphosate in corn areas with 18 degrees slope in Quirino Province, and the implementation of Appropriate Soil Conservation Management for Sustainable Corn Production in Sloping Areas or SCoPSA.  Glyphosate is one of the world’s most widely used weed killers in the agriculture industry especially in corn areas.

Likewise, Carlito Aquino of Region 5 was awarded as the Outstanding MAFC Chairperson for his pursuit to improve the condition of his fellow farmers in Ocampo, Camarines Sur by spearheading the passing of Municipal Ordinances, through MAFC resolution. Among these resolutions were the Development of Organic Sustainable Agriculture in Ocampo, Creation of Municipal Agriculture Development Plan and Municipal Tourism Development.

For the outstanding coordinators, PCAF hailed Milagros Dela Rosa of Region 1 in the regional level, Dominga Cabatu of Cordillera Administrative Region in the provincial level, and Lydia Monda of Region 5 as the outstanding coordinator in the municipal level.

To help PCAF in the selection, the search’s National Technical Committee was composed of Dr. Jaime Lopez of National Dairy Authority; Jimmy Sevalla, Local Government Operation Officer of the Department of Local Government (DILG); Shervit Anne Chan, Local Government Operations Officer of DILG; Kenneth Siruelo of Philippine National Volunteer Service Coordinating Agency; Josephine Aben of Agricultural Training Institute, and Lorna Villegas of DA-Field Operations Services.

The Board of Judges were composed of industry institutions like National Scientist Dr. Gelia Castillo of International Rice Research Institute and Nelia Gonzales of Asia World Properties Philippine Corporation. Along with them were the individuals who are best in their chosen field like former DA Undersecretary Apolonio Bautista, Gomer Tumbali of Food and Agriculture Organization, and Raul Montemayor of Federation of Free Farmers Coop., Inc..

The criteria for evaluation focused on the significant contribution to the agriculture and fishery sector, leadership, performance, sustained commitment and service to the AFC, Agri-fishery undertakings or the livelihood projects, community involvement, efficiency, effectiveness and creativity.

Aside from the criteria, AFC chairpersons should have rendered the same position for at least three years, while coordinators should also be in their current position for at least five years to be qualified.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala graced the event and said that the AFC is one of the few ways where the government can establish transparency and creates awareness on the department’s various programs and activities.

Aside from the secretary, former Agriculture Secretary Carlos Dominguez and DILG Local Government Supervision Director Manuel Gotis were also present in the celebration. (See related story)

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