DA chief eyes 25% poverty drop in Samar Island

Rommel L. Rutor (The Freeman) - July 15, 2016 - 12:00am

CATBALOGAN CITY, Philippines — With the three provinces of Samar Island having been in the Top 10 of the country’s poorest, Department of Agriculture chief Manny Piñol yesterday said the Duterte administration wanted to cut poverty incidence in the island by 25 percent in two years.

“Mabilisan ito, that is our target, kung 50 percent ang poverty incidence niyo ngayon, we have to cut it down to 25 percent, not during the full term of President Duterte, but only in two years,” said Piñol.

The DA secretary was in the city to meet local leaders, farmer and fishermen groups in Eastern Visayas, as part of his promise to return to Samar to address the impoverished plight of Samarnons with the vow to transform the island into a major food producer in the country.

During his face-off with local leaders and regional officials of the DA dubbed as “Aragtubang,” Piñol warned not to make the department as a milking cow, as he urged officials to give what is due to the farmers.

“No nonsense plans this time, no to ‘Farm to Pocket Roads,’ come up with validated data-base of farmers and include their locations and lot numbers. The farmers should have an insurance from the government. I will help you and I will give you all the funds that you need, provided we will do things right,” he told them.

In the same occasion, the secretary lambasted the National Irrigation Administration, which became the center of complaints from various provinces due to its inability to finish majority of the irrigation projects in the region.

Piñol particularly cited the Basey Irrigation Project in Samar, which according to the report of Governor Sharee Ann Tan, have still not been serving its purpose because it is unfinished to this date.

The NIA-Regional Office 8, however, explained that most of the funds for its various irrigation projects are being downloaded to them piece by piece or on staggered basis, causing the delays.

As such, Piñol requested the NIA to submit the documents pertaining to its various irrigation projects so that he can personally check and follow up the release of the needed funds.

“I will help you do it. We will get those funds, but you have to make sure that these projects will be finished on the date that you promised, otherwise I will re-assign you to Jolo. Marami din tayong irrigation projects doon,” he said.

To further expedite the implementation of DA’s programs in the region, Piñol said all municipal and city agriculturists will become part of the DAs personnel and will report directly to his office.

“In two weeks, our personnel will come back, and we will be setting-up Project Management Offices in every province here. These PMOs will be in-charge in the planning, implementation and monitoring of our programs,” he said.

Meanwhile, 61 fisherfolks from this city and the island town of Zumarraga received 61 paddled and motorized boats from the secretary.

Piñol told the recipients the boats will help boost their livelihood prospects, so they have to take care of these to maximize their income in providing food to their families. The boats are part of the initial steps to reduce poverty in Samar Province, he said.

When asked what particular assistance the farmers will get from the DA, Piñol positively cited free palay seeds good for two croppings, a working irrigation system, pre- and post-harvest implements and technical assistance for inter-cropping.

“What I can see at present, we have coconuts and grass and grass and coconuts and again grass, I want to change that. I want to see Samar thriving with coconuts and cacao and coconuts and coffee and coconuts and cacao and etcetera. I also would to inform you that we are supporting tree farming and we will pay a monthly honorarium for those who would want to indulge into it. I will meet with DENR secretary Gina Lopez on the 19th to discuss this program,” Piñol concluded.   (FREEMAN)




  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with