The just concluded MAFAR-BARMM provincial strategic consultation cum site visitation in Sulu has facilitated the voicing of aspirations from the employees of then separate agriculture, fisheries, and agrarian reform offices for just, fair, and inclusive Bangsamoro government.

Conducted on August 14, 2019, the consultation was held at the Sulu Provincial Capitol Gym in Patikul and was attended by almost 400 provincial workforces of then Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and Department of Agrarian Reform that are now merged under the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Minister Mohammad S. Yacob said the activity basically intended to confer with the people in the provincial offices on their proposed activities, and settle all the issues and concerns pertaining to the transition period especially the phasing out plan where appointed employees of then ARMM are beset by fear or being removed or separated from government service.

“We are in the process of change and this is for the welfare of all; we will give you time to ask and clarify”, Minister Yacob told MAFAR’s working men and women in Sulu.

The employees learned through the consultative meeting that the new structure of the ministry has been approved and that the ministry is now on the process of finalizing the budget plan for the year 2020.

With all honesty, objectivity, and optimism, Minister Yacob has addressed and answered the questions and clarifications of the employees.

He said everyone is allowed to avail of the separation package regardless of age and length of service. The separation pay shall be made available and ready for release a month after the schedule of separation. However, for those who wish to reapply, they will only receive their separation pay if they will not be reappointed.

As the positions in the then ARMM shall be abolished, the organic employees would have to reapply for the new specific plantilla positions in the BARMM.

In the process of availing the separation package, Minister Yacob said, it is a special and different case and it will not interfere with the national rules like that of GSIS.

As the employees called for just and fair governance and recruitment processes, the MAFAR head assured them that the Bangsamoro leadership shall be carrying out its mandates morally and with all fairness. The employees were then enjoined to continue working for the betterment of the ministry’s clienteles by organizing and empowering them thereby making them prouder farmers and fishers.

Before meeting the employees, Minister Yacob and the team paid courtesy to Hon. Governor Abdusakur M. Tan.

Governor Tan thanked the team from MAFAR for their visit. He then expressed his full concern to the welfare of the provincial workforces. He believes that poverty is the root cause of criminality and extreminsm therefore it should be addressed accordingly. With this cause, the public official said there is a need to capacitate the employees in order for them to serve more effectively making them able to enhance the agrifishery sector in the province.

Agreeing to the governor’s inputs, Minister Yacob said the main purpose of the visit is to strengthen the partership of the ministry and the local governments for more meaningful implementations of agrifishery and agrarian reform programs and projects.

Aiming to reach out to the stakeholders in the field, the team also visited the BFAR boatyard in Tagbak, Indanan and the Community Fish Landing Center (CFLC) at the Serrantes Market in Jolo and BFAR-Sulu Provincial Office where Minister Yacob led the ceremonial turnover of Baywide Multi-Purpose Building under Fish Coral Project and fishing boats and engines to the rightful beneficiaries.

The provincial consultation was made possible with the careful facilitation of Provincial Agricultural Officer Mercyan A. Aspi, Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Rockefeller Undug, and BFAR Caretaker Hadja Feraida A. Sabatal and their staffs.

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