PIGCAWAYAN, Cotabato- In response to the agricultural challenges being faced by the farmers in Region XII, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte arrived in this Municipality on Friday, January 10, to distribute Php58M worth of various agricultural inputs to SocCSKSarGen Farmers.
Last November 16, 2019, Department of Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar, together with other government officials, landed here to have a dialogue with the farmers of North Cotabato. Secretary Dar said that during the dialogue there were number of concerns raised.
Secretary Dar presented, during the event, the necessary actions taken by the respective agencies such as the Department of Agriculture (DA), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Landbank of the Philippines (LBP), National Food Authority (NFA) and others.
Among the actions taken were the establishment of Farm to Market Roads and giving-out of financial assistance through Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) for farmer tilling one half hectare to two hectares of land.
“For North Cotabato, there will be 40,800 farmers that will benefit from the cash assistance of Php 5,000 each. The total amount to be given within the next three weeks to cover all the 40,800 famers is Php 204,000,000”, said Secretary Dar.
Secretary Dar also highlighted the actions taken in response to the price drop of palay in November and December last year. He said that 23,447 famers in North Cotabato have benefitted from the Sure Aid Loan Systems at Php 15,000 each farmer tilling one (1) hectare and below.
For the irrigation systems, Secretary Dar said that NIA will now have immediate response this year to improve the water management efficiency of communal irrigation systems in the Province. The rehabilitation of communal irrigation systems had totalled to to Php12.2M.
Likewise, for the irrigation requirements of Pigcawayan and neighbouring towns in the long run, NIA is on its final stages of conducting feasibility study for two big irrigation systems- the Buldon River Irrigation Project and the Libungan and Malitubog Multipurpose Irrigation Project. Secretary Dar said that these two projects will be accelerated in terms of its construction so that farmers could benefit from it.
Meanwhile, in his speech during the event, President Duterte highlighted the interventions of the government as aid to help the farmers cope up with the challenges they are facing in the agriculture sector.
“It is my hope that the farm inputs and machineries to be distributed today will reinforce the short and long term solutions that we have already implemented that aim to raise greater productivity and competitiveness in the agricultural sector,” he said.
Also, President Duterte encouraged the farmers to give the Rice Tarrification Law a chance, promising rice farmers that this law will help them become competitive.
“To our dear farmers, let me take this opportunity to encourage you to give the Rice Tariffication Law a chance. Let me assure you that in the long run, this measure will not only help strengthen our economy, but will also provide new opportunities for your sector,” said President Duterte.
Moreover, President Duterte emphasized that the government has launched various capacity building programs that will develop the proficiency of farmers to new farming techniques and latest technological advancement.
“I ask our local farmers to embrace the opportunities…offered by the training activities. The DA together with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Technical Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA) will be your partners in this endeavors”, he said.
President Duterte ended his speech by recognizing the invaluable contribution of the farmers to the socio-economic growth of Mindanao. He also asked the farmers to work hand in hand with the government to overcome challenges ahead and ensure inclusive progress for the entire nation.
Pigcawayan Mayor Jean Dino D. Roquero thanked the President as their Municipality was chosen to host the ceremonial distribution of farm inputs.
“Today is a historic day for Pigcawayan and Pigcawayanons. As the highest leader of the Republic of the Philippines His Excellency President Rodrigo Roa Duterte visits our town. Isang karangalan na maituturing namin sa Pigcawayan na mabisita dahil sa kagustuhan na makausap at mapaabot ang tulong ng gobyerno lalong-lalo na sa ating mga magsasaka”
The ceremonial distribution of various agricultural inputs was held at the Municipal Gymnasium of Pigcawayan.