New Buildings, New Beginnings

Cutting of the ribbon led by Center Director Dante G. Esguerra and assisted
by DA Regional Technical Director, Ms. Marila L. Corpuz was witnessed by
the heads and representatives from partner agencies, LGU officials, private
sectors, and all ATI employees.

Change is inevitable if you strive to pursue sustainable development. Older structures have to change as it outgrows from their original functions and meet modern demands. Renovation is deemed necessary to accommodate the growth of employees and provide better, more comfortable and conducive atmosphere for the clientele. Thus, construction and design have to be updated to adapt to the changes in technology and lifestyle.

The traditional office of the Agricultural Training Institute- Regional Training Center XI (ATI-RTC-XI) is dead. It is nothing but left in the wake of change. However, memories of the defaced buildings did not disappear with it but rather, invoked memories of the past glories.

Historical Past

It was in 1987 when ATI-RTC XI occupied the defunct Farm System Development Corporation (FSDC) in Datu Abdul, Panabo City. For more than three decades, the former buildings stood as silent witness to the profound historical, cultural background, and continuous metamorphosis of the community surrounding it.

Built during the late President Marcos administration, it has been viewed with considerable sentiment. While preserving heritage is key, construction methods have changed dramatically to make the buildings more sustainable. Though minor repairs had been done to maintain such, the conventional wooden materials are not hard-wearing and cannot withstand wear and tear decay.

The Bumpy Road to Success

Long-anticipated renovations began in March 2017, at the time Center Director Dante G. Esguerra assumed the office. The process was never easy at first. Aside from the issues of financial-related delays in the construction, in which the Center had battled with the tedious procurement procedures, the major problem was ATI’s legal right to utilize the 3.5 hectares land owned by the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office XI (DA-RFO-XI)

With the dynamic leadership of ATI Center Director Dante G. Esguerra and Director Ricardo M. Oñate, Jr. of DA RFO XI, the signing of the Deed of Usufruct was successfully pushed through along with the presence of Director Dr. Luz A. Taposok held at ATI XI compound. The term of the usufruct shall be for 25 years, and renewable for similar periods. As such, DA RFO XI will lose the benefit as the Owner throughout the period. Thereafter, the renovation project has turned its wheels.

The challenge did not end there. Countless biddings and compliance to procurement requirements was another mountain to climb.

“Given the strict regulations when it comes to utilizing government funds, I am fortunate to have intelligent and proactive staff to produce the needed requirements completely and efficiently without complications,” CD Esguerra expressed.

Ten million pesos infrastructure was allocated to the Center which was expected to be completed and fully functional in 12 months. Through the untiring support and special efforts of the ATI XI personnel, especially the members of Bids and Awards Committee, the tangible realization of the fulfillment of the dream building has been made possible.

Just when we thought things would get lighter as soon as the renovation has started, the road to success wasn’t all that smooth. The actual construction was even deemed the most challenging part. CD Esguerra personally manned the daily operations to ensure the smooth implementation of the project with the supervision and expertise of our hired engineer, Ms. Hannah Dominique L. Domen.

During the renovation of the administrative building, the old stockroom has become the temporary shelter of the staff. Though not the most comfortable quarters an employee could wish for because of its barn-like setting with little daylight, cluttered arrangement of desks, and mixed up office stuff, it has been the home to many, including our clients. Shade houses were also installed for temporary use of on-center training participants.

With each passing day it can be seen how the old office building slowly transformed into a vibrant, lively, and conducive place of learning.

Finally! The most awaited moment came into reality on June 8, 2018 when the fully completed renovated buildings were inaugurated and blessed. The very significant ceremony was attended by honored guests Director Luz A. Taposok, DA RFO XI Asst. Director Marila L. Corpuz, heads of different attached agencies, LGU officials, ATI XI employees, Agricultural Extension Workers, farmers, fisherfolks, and stakeholders.

“Dreams do not come true very often. Today, some dreams did come true,” said CD Esguerra during the inauguration.

Dramatic Present

The administrative building really underwent major transformation. Each wall, façade, and interior were totally changed. Termites-stricken roofs were replaced, floors were tiled, bathrooms and living rooms were enhanced. Its modern design intends to attract visitors with its aesthetic frontage. On the inside lays the vast training hall enough to accommodate semi-large crowd and used during the conduct of on-center trainings, conferences, and meetings. A wider space will be utilized to further cater to the needs of our farmers and fishers when it comes to education and information.

Across the hall is the semi-open prime office where the staff and employees are positioned, and it is where walk-in clients are received. The dormitory, which stood at the right wing at the back of the admin building composed of bedrooms and living room, can comfortably accommodate up to 50 individuals.

With these facilities in place, we can provide to our clients better learning experience while prioritizing their needs and comfort.

The changes in the physical structure of the Center are necessary for its development. We need to embrace change in order to develop and fully grow. The building’s new façade truly gave the ATI-RTC XI a new beginning. We may have lost a home but we were able to build a new one- a more resilient structure and stronger ties among colleagues and clientele. It did not die at all; the memories will always survive even if the buildings have disappeared.