April 8, 2021 ---- The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Coconut Authority (DA-PCA) hosted a virtual consultation meeting with coconut farmer group leaders on the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP), which will be the basis of fund utilization under the Republic Act No. 11524, or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act.
The consultation meeting was participated by the farmer group leaders: Mr. Joey Faustino, Mr. Rene Cerilla, Mr. Ed Mora, Mr. Efren Villaseñor, Mr. Charlie Avila, Ms. Mayette Tamondong, Mr. Oscar Solidor, Mr. Leonardo Montemayor, Mr. Raul Montemayor, Mr. Dioscoro Granada, Cong. Argel Cabatbat, and Mr. Edgardo Amistad.
The consultation meeting was participated in by leaders of several coconut farmer groups such as the KILUS Magniniyog, Confederation of Coconut Farmers Organizations of the Philippines, Federation of Free Farmers, and Magsasaka Partylist, among others. The consultation aims to obtain and to discuss the comments, recommendations, and concerns of the coconut farmer group leaders on the CFIDP and on the other RA 11524 requirements' status and updates from the DA-PCA. One of the significant proposals resulting from the meeting was the involvement of farmer group representatives in the crafting of supporting plans by the implementing government agencies such as on matters relating to crop insurance, social protection programs, and infrastructure development, among others.
One of the recommendations raised by the farmer group leaders was for the DA-PCA to tap coconut farmers’ organizations to assist in the National Coconut Farmers and Registry System (NCFRS) registration activities. DA-PCA Administrator Benjamin Madrigal, Jr. said in response that the DA-PCA has since been collaborating with other national line agencies and coconut farmer organizations in information dissemination and in its conduct of NCFRS mass registrations. This includes the Department of Agriculture (DA) offices who are also currently working on the updating of the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBA) for farmers and fisherfolk, the availability of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Negosyo Centers as NCFRS registration walk-in sites, and continued partnerships with local government units (LGUs) and the provincial and regional agriculture and fishery councils.
Madrigal also reiterated that the coconut farmers’ organizations are highly encouraged and most welcome to provide whatever assistance they may provide to the DA-PCA to ensure that all our coconut farmers are registered with our NCFRS.
"We have also been processing the hiring and training of enumerators and encoders to augment the manpower in our field operations to expedite our NCFRS registration activities, while ensuring strict compliance to data privacy provisions," Madrigal added.
The farmer group leaders also raised their comments and recommendations pertaining the proposed nomination and screening process for the farmer-representatives to the PCA Board, specifically on the requirements for qualification of coconut farmer groups with reference to the Magna Carta of Small Farmers. It was agreed during the meeting that the farmer groups will submit to the DA-PCA a copy of their proposal and other relevant documents so the DA-PCA may duly endorse these to the PCA Board for consideration.
In response, Madrigal said that, "We are continuously consulting with the coconut farmer and farmer groups to ensure that their inputs are taken into account before the promulgation of the finalized guidelines for the nomination and screening process. These consultation meetings are very productive and are very helpful as this allows the DA-PCA Management to have direct communication and fruitful discussions with our farmer group leaders. We look forward to having more regular consultation meetings, as part of our commitment to ensure the active participation of our coconut farmers and farmer group leaders in implementing RA 11524.”
Likewise, the DA-PCA has also been conducting provincial and regional consultations with respective coconut farmer groups on the proposed nomination and screening process.
The official guidelines on the nomination and screening process for the farmer-representatives to the PCA Board is set to be released before the end of April.
The RA 11524 requires that the DA-PCA submit to the President of the Philippines a list of four (4) farmer-representative nominees for each major island groups of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, from which the President will be appointing the chosen representatives. ###