DA allots P3B budget for Region 12

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/4 January)—The Department of Agriculture (DA) has earmarked P3.043 billion for Region 12 this year to further boost the area’s agricultural productivity, Amalia Datukan, DA-12 regional director, said.

The 2014 budget is 134 percent higher from last year’s 1.3 billion, she said in a statement.

“The national government has entrusted this much budget [to us]. Let us work together to achieve our objectives,” Datukan said, addressing a recent gathering of farmers and local officials from the region.

She said the region is mainly targeting to increase farm productivity as its contribution to the country’s economic growth.

To achieve the goal, Datukan said there is a need to strengthen interventions on irrigation, mechanization, integrated crop management, quality seeds, transportation and postharvest facilities.

Currently, the region’s rice production stands at 3.83 metric tons (MT) per hectare and four MT per hectare for corn, according to the statement.

Datukan said the DA-12 also wants to boost the productivity of the livestock, fishery, vegetables and coffee industries.

Region 12, also called the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

She urged local government units (LGUs) to work closely with the DA-12 in the implementation of programs and projects in their respective areas.

“Although DA has funds to spend, this allotment would be useless without you helping us in carrying out our development initiatives,” Datukan said.

“Agricultural extension workers work under your management and you are also closer to the farmers. Thus, we need your guidance and support,” she added.

To address the specific concerns of the LGUs in the region, DA-12 will separately meet the local chief executives of the municipalities, cities and provinces in the area, Datukan said.

Datukan said she would recommend that LGUs designate a point person who would oversee the implementation of projects as well as make sure that funds are promptly liquidated.

Datukan disclosed that included in the DA-12’s 2014 budget are projects under the Bottom-up Budgeting (BuB), PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA) and the Special Purpose Fund (SPF).

BuB is a budgeting approach that the Aquino government started in 2013. It engages 300 to 400 poorest municipalities in crafting community-level poverty reduction and empowerment plans.

PAMANA is a national government program and framework for peace and development implemented in areas affected by conflict and communities covered by existing peace agreements. The program carries out projects geared toward improving the delivery of basic social services.

SPFs, on the other hand, are budgetary allocations in the General Appropriations Act allocated for specific purposes. (MindaNews)