Wednesday, July 20, 2016



By: Secretary Manny Piñol
Department of Agriculture

In a move which could tremendously boost the country's food production and agricultural programs, an estimated 30,000 farm technicians and extension workers will soon "rejoin" their former "mother unit" - the Department of Agriculture (DA).

This is expected to happen very soon after Dept. of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael Sueno, himself a former governor and real farmer, agreed to my proposal to enter into a tri-partite Memorandum of Agreement with the DA and the Local Government Units (LGU) to re-assign the thousands of farm technicians and extension workers now under the LGUs back to the agriculture department as "detailed" workers.

Actually, these technicians and extension workers were originally DA employees assigned to the provinces and municipalities who were "devolved" to the LGUs upon the passage of the Local Government Code.

While the intent of the Code was noble, their transfer to the LGUs effectively paralyzed the DA and caused a great disconnect in the implementation of the department's agriculture and fisheries programs because the technicians and extension workers were getting orders from the mayors and governors.

Also, the LGUs do not have enough funds to ensure that the technicians and extension workers would be able to perform their tasks.

So, what eventually happened was that many of these agriculture workers stayed in their offices wearing crisp and dandy office uniforms, some of the women even wearing make-up and high-heels, instead of going to the fields.

Some of them are assigned to do odd jobs like tax collectors, market supervisors and even security officers, jobs totally unrelated to agriculture.

It is simply an untenable situation where talents and skills are wasted.

I presented the idea of the "detail" of the agriculture workers back to the DA during my consultations in Bicol, Samar, Leyte and SOCKSARGEN region and the proposal was roundly accepted by the LGU executives.

With this development now, the DA will shoulder the allowances, per diems and trainings of the agriculture workers and they will receive directives and orders from the DA regional offices.
The DA could even give them back the privileges of having bicycles, motorcyles or even 4-wheeled vehicles so they could do their job effectively.

Upon the signing of the MOA, the agriculture and fisheries sector will effectively have an additional workforce of about 30,000.

Expect the farms and the coastal areas to be bustling with movement of agriculture and fisheries technicians in the days to come.

About the Author

The Mail Man

Author & Editor - The Philippines' Web Magazine on Agriculture.

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