Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental – Farmers and fisher folks of this province, which for so long carried the stigma of being labeled as the heartland of the notorious criminal gang Kuratong Baleleng, yesterday received some P120-Million worth of agriculture and fisheries projects and machineries from government.
The delivery of the projects and machineries, including 152 fiberglass fishing boats under the FB Pagbabago program of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) came five months after I visited Tangub City in June for the first Biyaheng Bukid sortie.
Misamis Occidental Governor Hermie Ramiro and Vice Governor Gigi Almonte led local officials, farmers and fisher folks in the brief turn-over ceremonies held at the provincial capitol compound in Oroquieta City.
During yesterday’s activity, I also made the commitment of making available in 2018 P100-M in loan funds under the Production Loan Easy Access (PLEA) program of the Agricultural Credit and Policy Council (ACPC) of the Department of Agriculture.
The PLEA program, which is being implemented nationwide now, is aimed at providing easy access financing to farmers and fisher folks ranging from P5,000 to P50,000 without collaterals and only 6% interest per annum which goes to the conduit bank or cooperative handling the loaning program.
Each loaning package is supervised by a Project Management Officer (PMO) assigned by the Department of Agriculture to validate the viability of the projects proposed by the loan applicants and to supervise the utilization of the money.
The second Biyaheng Bukid sortie in Misamis Occidental yesterday coincided with the culmination of the Farmers’ and Fisherfolk’s Month celebration of the province.
It was also the fulfillment of the commitments I made when I first visited the province in June when agriculture and fisheries stakeholders shared their problems and needs for intervention from government.
In response to the apparent “shock and awe” displayed by the local officials, farmers and fishermen because of the speed in the delivery of the commitments, I explained that President Rody Duterte instructed all government departments to ensure fast delivery of services and to make sure that money allocated to each department is spent effectively and efficiently.
In the short message which I delivered during the turn-over, I apologized for the neglect by government for the people of Misamis Occidental in the past and promised that under the Duterte Administration things will be different.
“Today, Nov. 27, marks the dawning of a new day in your lives. Things will change from hereon because this is the commitment of the President,” I said in ending my message.
(Photos by Alan Jay Jacalan, DA-AFID)