History unfolds as the teamwork from the national and regional government, academe, and private sectors, made possible the crafting of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) agriculture and fisheries masterplan that is now close to its finalization.

Sponsored and spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture, a two-day “Consultative Workshop in Crafting the Agriculture and Fisheries Masterplan for BARMM was conducted at the Apo View Hotel in Davao City on July 11-12, 2019. The event was in active collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR)-BARMM and was attended by the ministry’s development planners and other key officials, representatives from the different line agencies, development partners, academes, fishers, and farmer leaders from the private sector in the region.

Calling himself an “errand boy”, DA Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, who has been designated by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as his “point man” for the BARMM, said the agri-fisheries masterplan will serve as the basis of all programs and projects for the sectors in the region.

The secretary stated that the hardest part of the revolution is realizing the aspirations and dreams of the revolutionists as in the case of the BARMM. And with this, Piñol encouraged the group from the region to lay down their plans, target programs and projects and together, they will make them whole.

“I and the other officials of the DA are not here to tell you what to do; you will be the ones to make and weave your dreams. We are here to help you realize them and build the house of prosperity and peace where you and your people could dwell in”, Secretary Piñol emphasized in his keynote message.

He further said that the crafting of the BARMM Agriculture and Fisheries Masterplan must be fast-tracked so the needed funding support could be included in the 2020 budget of the national government which is being finalized now.

The secretary explicitly shared the 10 Basic Foundations of Sound Agriculture and Fisheries under the Duterte Administration which are 1. A national color-coded agricultural guide map, 2. A national food consumption quantification study, 3. An institutional restructuring and paradigm resetting for the DA and its officials, 4. An intensive technology updating and sharing, modernization, and mechanization program, 5. An easy access financing program for farmers, fishers, and other stakeholders, 6. A strategic and effective postharvest, storage, and processing facility, 7. A government-initiated and supported aggressive marketing campaign especially for high-value crops, 8. National livestock, dairy, and poultry program, 9. A relentless campaign for the enforcement of agricultural and fisheries laws, especially on land conversion and illegal fishing, and 10. Re-introduction of basic agriculture in the primary and elementary grades of the Philippine school system.

Minister Mohammad S. Yacob of MAFAR-BARMM, stated that the event was historic and very significant in bringing the government to the people. He said the masterplan will contain the strategies and ways on how the government through the ministry can touch the lives of the farmers and fishers.

“We are making history here. For the first time, we all gathered to chart our future in agriculture and fisheries in the Bangsamoro Region and we thank the President for his all-out support and encouragement”, Minister Yacob expressed.

“We will be committed to implement the masterplan and ensure that the needed assistance shall reach the rightful beneficiaries”, the minister added.

Meanwhile, Engr. Muhajirin T. Ali, Executive Director of BARMM Regional Planning and Development Office, presented the 12-Point Priority Agenda of the BARMM with emphasis on food, health, and security and to where the programs and projects of the different ministries of the region should be aligned.

The mandates, vision, mission, along with the programs, projects, activities, and strategies of MAFAR-BARMM were all reported by DatuHamsur J. Zaid, Technical Planning Staff of the ministry.

With the workshop overview and mechanics explained by Carlos L. Magnaye, Assistant Secretary of DA-PMS, the group were grouped into five during the breakout session. The groups, each composed of lead and co-facilitators, members, and documenters, were assigned to work on the completion of the provincial agriculture and fishery indicative investment plan for Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi. The product of every group’s teamwork was reported before Secretary Piñol and Minister Yacob and the other guests and participants for any needed refinement.

Once the draft masterplan is completed, Minister Yacob will present it to BARMM Chief Minister Ahod B. Ebrahim. Secretary Piñol will also submit a copy of the draft masterplan to President Duterte before his State of the Nation Address come July 22.

The two-day consultative workshop was also highlighted by the signing of the deed of donation of agricultural machineries for MAFAR-BARMM for upland rice development as facilitated by Dr. Sailila E. Abdula, Executive Director of PhilRice. Aside from this, the Memorandum of Agreement on the turnover of agricultural interventions (farm inputs, implements, and machineries) worth almost Php202 Million for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected by the Marawi Siege, was finally signed by Minister Yacob and Secretary Piñol. For the same purpose, the certificate of turnover of Php33.7 Million worth units of 20-footer motorized FRP boats was awarded to Minister Yacob.

For the improvement of agrarian reform in Basilan and Sulu, a contract for the conduct of subdivision survey activities was signed between Minister Yacob and the respective Provincial Agrarian Reform Officers.

The first-ever assembly for making the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) agriculture and fisheries masterplan was also participated by agricultural stakeholders, People’s Organization representatives from the region, Mindanao directors of DA-RFOs and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), state universities, related line agencies in the region, and development partners like the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN-FAO).

Led by Regional Executive Director Ricardo Oñate and Regional Director Fathma Idris, DA-RFO and BFAR XI served as the main facilitators and secretariat of the significant event.

The conduct of the planning workshop was handled by Asec. Magnaye and Director Abdula with support from Eduardo Gongona, Undersecretary for Fisheries, and Evelyn Laviña, Undersecretary for High-Value Crops and Rural Credit.

Some photos are from the official FB page of Secretary Emmanuel F. Pinol.

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