PIA News Service - Friday, June 26, 2009

AusAID-PAHRD: Propelling AgSur to better economic heights

It is not just a mere pinpointing of fingers. Not just because of good appearance as many visitors describe, either. Not just because of good and attractive presentation too. Most of all, it is not just a favorable twist of luck.

It was a selection of the best among the rest. A thorough screening of qualifications that can satisfy the giver in selecting the qualified recipient. And it was like passing through the eye of a needle.

That was how Agusan del Sur provincial government and its people acquired the development initiatives from the Australian Assistance for International Development (AusAID), when it became one of the five provinces who became recipient of the Partnership with Phils-Australia Human Resource Development Facility (PAHRD).

The PAHRD

But what is PAHRD by the way? Why will AusAID invest only in Agusan del Sur, Bohol, Northern Samar, Surigao del Norte and Misamis Occidental and not in all provinces in the country? 

Well, PAHRD is an AusAID funded development initiatives which aims to support the Government of the Philippines efforts under the Arroyo administration, to promote sustainable and equitable development through planned institutional capacity building programs for key government and private sector institutions. The Facility has officially partnered targeted public and private sector institutions throughout the Philippines since August 2004. It is a five-year partnering engagement with the Facility.

PHRD prioritize institution whose mandates are directly aligned with the aspirations describe in the Australia-Philippines Development Assistance Strategy. Specifically, the alignment should advance the interest of Australia and the Philippines to contribute to improving the prospects for economic growth, poverty reduction and national stability in the Philippines. It has three core pillars contributing to the achievement of local and national development strategies which are Economic Growth, Basic Education and the National Stability and Human Security.

The provincial government of Agusan del Sur (PGAS) became the targeted province of the AusAID Country Program Strategy because its current development program is firmly aligned to the principles of the Country Program Strategy – specifically in relation to poverty reduction, sustainable development and stability.

Aside from the alignment to the Philippines- Australia current Country Program Strategy, Agusan del Sur also satisfies the AusAID by its robust and responsive short term and medium plan, its readiness for a change, and its visible and functioning human resource system.

The Blessings

Since its implementation in Agusan del Sur in 2004, AusAID-PAHRD has shelled out some P60 million for short and long terms trainings that include areas for Administrative governance, service delivery and human resource development.

The short terms trainings conducted with an average cost of P2 million per training includes Capacity Building for Enhanced Human Resource Management and Development; training on Development management; Strengthening Enterprise Development Capacity of Economic Sector of the EBP Management Team; Enhancing the performance Evaluation System; Enhancing Revenue Generation in PGAS; Strengthening Training and Development Functions in PGAS; Development Pool of Trainers in PGAS; Enhancing Database Management in PGAS; Enhancing PGAS Qualification Standards for Effective Recruitment and Placement and; Advocating Agricultural Productivity in Idle and Marginalized Lands in PGAS. Each training were attended by an average participants of 23 persons.

For the long term training/ course with diploma or certificate, each training were participated by an individual or two persons per training, mostly abroad, with and average cost of P2.3 million per course. 

The courses taken are Environment Management focused on Eco-Tourism; Rural Development; Agribusiness; Human Resource Management and Development; Career Development; Public Finance Management; Agri-Forestry; Environment management and Development on Eco-Tourism and Protected Areas; Database Management (GIS); Real Property Valuation, Policy Review and Advocacy; Crop production; Animal Production and; Solid Waste Management.

On process trainings for this year include Organization Development and Change Management; Property Valuation and; Project Management of Infra-Engineering.

Aside from trainings, AusAID also extended a digitizer now used by the PASSO to map-out land parcels, one unit server now used by the Information Technology Unit of the provincial government, and one unit laptop computer now used by the Provincial Human Resource Management Office.

On May 14, 2009, a team by the AusAID visited the provincial government to check and validate performances of the institutions through outcomes and impact and was satisfied by what they actually see and observed. In fact, the team also solicits ideas, suggestions and proposals on how to design the Phase 2 engagement.

Agusan del Sur Gov. Maria Valentina “Tina” Plaza, said being hardworking and dedicated people, Agusanons are always blessed with bounty for development and progress.

“Aside from sailing on the right track, foreign investors recognize and believe in Filipino values, dedication, knowledge and sincerity. For us Agusanons, we can always wear our heads up, and shout to the world, Agusanon, ikaw ang numero Uno!” Gov. Tina Plaza said. (Dave M. Suyao, PIA-Agusan del Sur)