Tuesday, August 7, 2018


DAR scales up abaca enterprise in Agusan Norte

By Nora L. Molde/Gil E. Miranda

BUTUAN CITY, Aug. 7 - Some 427 abaca farmers in far-flung communities in Agusan del Norte are set to expand their abaca farms to boost local production of abaca fiber through the abaca value chain project under Project ConVERGE (Convergence on Value Chain Enhancement for Rural Growth and Empowerment), implemented by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) of Agusan del Norte.

The project ConVERGE supports in scaling up the abaca value chain enterprise of San Isidro Upland Multipurpose Cooperative (SIUFMULCO) as the lead proponent group of 21 participating groups consisting of 2,035 members; of which 460 (24 percent) are Indigenous Peoples (IPs) living across the four municipalities of Tubay, Jabonga, Kitcharao and Santiago (TUJAKITSAN Cluster) in Agusan del Norte.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer (PAPRO) II Andre B. Atega urged the local farmers and Indigenous Peoples (IPs) engaged in abaca value chain to produce quality fiber in order to compete with the market standard that will result to increased household income.

Under the integrated enterprise enhancement for abaca value chain, the projects have released around PhP55.6-million since it was launched in 2016, which composed of capability enhancement trainings; 12 units stripping machines; one unit 10-wheeler hauling truck; and planting materials and inputs covering 383 hectares distributed to at least 10 farmer-groups comprising 427 beneficiaries.

Project ConVERGE Coordinator Annelyn Chan said that from the PhP55-million budget, 43 percent or PhP23.5-million is still in the pipeline to be implemented within 2018. This included the proposed Phase I, which entailed the 1.6667-km. farm-to-market road from NRJ Poblacion 2 to Sitio Cadahon-dahonan in Santiago. 

SIUFMULCO Manager Leonora Mila admitted that for several years, the cooperative had experienced downfall of abaca production, due to widespread diseases and lack of adequate skill on farm management.

"Presently, the demand of abaca has been increasing. We are now delivering an average production of 200 metric tons per month. We are projected to double into a compounded annual growth rate of around five percent in the next five years," Mila said.

"We are very grateful through the support of DAR under Project ConVERGE and complementation efforts of various stakeholders. The farmers could slowly fill the gap on the abaca fiber supply shortage in the province,” Mila further added. (DAR-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

Surigao del Norte solon wants broadcast media to devote airtime for PSAs

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Aug. 7 (PIA) – Surigao del Norte Second District Representative Robert Ace Barbers wants broadcast media to devote 20 minutes of regular airtime a day for Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to inform the people of social issues such as drug abuse and prevention and emergency preparedness, which directly affect everyone.

In his House Bill 7981, Barbers said media should help in educating the public on welfare rights and benefits, environmental issues, education, suicide prevention, and voter and civic education.

The public should also be made aware of policies and laws, road and traffic rules, physical and mental health, government processes, disaster preparedness and public safety through PSAs.

“Public service announcements are effective ways to generate public awareness on critical issues and in the end, promote behavioral change,” said Barbers, chair of the House of Representatives’ committee on dangerous drugs.

“If done correctly, PSAs may foster an informed discourse among community members on societal problems,” he added.

Barbers said laws that grant broadcasting companies the franchise to construct, install, operate and maintain television and radio broadcasting stations in the country mandate them to allow sufficient time for public service.

“The problem is the franchise given to media companies doesn’t stipulate a preset number of hours, and the truth is, these companies seldom comply with their mandate,” Barbers said.

“To whom much is given, much is expected,” he stressed.

Under the measure, a 30-second PSA shall be aired before the primetime news of all television and radio stations.

Barbers said the PSAs shall be non-commercial, non-denominational, and non-political and may be changed every six months to cover a wide array of social issues. (SDR/2nd District Congressional Office/PIA-Surigao del Norte)