City of Pines embraces Techno Gabay Program, launches FITS Center

“It is about right time to strengthen the agricultural sector in Baguio and that is what we are doing right now. The support from the Mayor and the Council means that the City is performing in all angles, including the agriculture sector.” This is what Baguio City Councilor Leandro Yangot had to say during the launching of the Baguio City Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center. Councilor Yangot, who chairs the City Council’s  Committee on Market, Trade, Commerce and Agriculture, authored the City Ordinance required for the City to adopt the Techno Gabay Program (TGP). 
The councilor also enjoined the City Veterinarian Office (CVO), being the host office of the FITS Center, in promoting the agri-tourism of the City.  He stressed that the presence of the FITS Center will help strengthen urban agriculture in the City so that  the urban farmers may produce their  own food and would help solve the issue of food problems especially during calamities when all roads going in and out the City are closed.  
The establishment of the Baguio City FITS Center came about through the efforts of the Baguio City Agricultural and Fishery Council (CAFC). Ms. Balbina Ernesto, former Baguio CAFC chairperson and presently the Cordillera Administrative Region Regional AFC chairperson described the launching of the FITS Center as another momentous event for the Baguio CAFC. The Baguio CAFC FITS Center  is the 61st FITS Center established in the Cordillera Administrative Region. 
ATI-CAR Training Center Superintendent I Myrna B. Sta. Maria also shared that the ATI, which is the bureau of the Department of Agriculture tasked to lead the DA’s extension programs, spearheads the implementation of the TGP with the FITS Centers as one of its components. The program aims to bring closer the information and technologies on agriculture and fishery to the farmers through the FITS Center. Further, ATI can also help the FITS Center by providing trainings and capability building activities. 
The launching program was also attended by Baguio City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan. Mayor Domogan expressed his gratitude for the presence of the FITS Center in the City.  In his message the Mayor shared that “it is not too late, hopefully we can institute (agriculture) to the minds of our own children. This is can only be sustainable if we are able to convince members of our family because education starts at home. We do not need to sacrifice our life to contribute to significant change and development but we can do a lot like in the aspect of agriculture, environment, and livelihood. That is already a big contribution for our own country.”
The program was followed by a turn over of ICT equipment from ATI-CAR to the Baguio CAFC. The launching  was participated by the members of the CAFC, staff of the Office of the City Veterinarian headed by Dr. Brigit Piok, Regional AFC Chair Balbina Ernesto, DA-Regional Field Office-CAR staff headed by DA-RFO-CAR CIARC Manager Magdalena T. Wanawan, and ATI-CAR staff led by TCS I Myrna B. Sta. Maria. The launching of the Baguio CAFC FITS Center was conducted on June 14, 2017 at the Office of the City Veterinarian at the Slaughter House Compound, Sto. Nińo Barangay, Baguio City. 
Prior the establishment the FITS Centers, series of activities in support ot the agriculture in the City were conducted by the City Government in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and the CAR RAFC.  The City has adopted the month of May as the Urban  Farmers Month in the City. This year’s Urban  Farmers Month included agri-tourism fair, search for 2017 Best Edible Backyard or Home Garden  and  a farmers’ summit.