Agricultural extension workers in Samar to be detailed back to DA
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol and Interior and Local Government Secretary Mike Sueno have started discussions to detail agricultural extension workers in Samar to the Department of Agriculture from local government units to fast track the massive agri-aqua development works planned for the region.
Piñol is seeking to reduce poverty in the country’s ten poorest provinces, including Samar, by 25 percent in three years by providing them with livelihood while increasing the country’s food production.
Piñol was in Samar last week for a dialogue with farmers and fishermen when the DA also distributed fiberglass fishing boats and other equipment to those whose lives were devastated when Typhoon Yolanda hit the country some years back.
“The LGU leaders agreed to the idea that I and DILG Sec. Mike Sueno discussed earlier that all government agricultural extension workers now directly under the municipal and provincial governments will be detailed back to the Dept. of Agriculture and will be engaged in the massive agri-aqua development works in Samar.
They will receive travel allowances and per diems from the DA,” Piñol said.
The supervision of agricultural extension workers were transferred to local government units upon the implementation of the local government code, creating problems in the sector as not all local governments have the expertise in fishing or farming.
“The LGU leaders were made to understand that the DA under President Duterte will undertake an aggressive anti-poverty campaign but that any interference by local officials in the way the projects are implemented as agreed upon would be sufficient reason for the DA to pull out its people from their areas,” Piñol said.
The agriculture chief also made it clear to the leaders of the farmers and fishermen in Samar that those who received the fishing boats and other government assistance will be held liable for any misuse or abuse of the assistance extended to them and that they will be held criminally liable.
The provincial governments in Samar agreed to be organized into a Special Area for Agricultural Development. A project management group will be assessing the problems and weaknesses of its poverty stricken areas and come up with solutions that will reduce poverty incidence by 25 percent in three years.
The SAAD’s focus will be on livelihood projects in agriculture and fisheries and in family-based agro-forestry programs so the poor families can immediately earn money.