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Government agencies regional heads (from left) Ismael Aya-ay (Department of Agrarian Reform), Angel Enriquez (Department of Agriculture), Marie Angela Gopalan (Department of Social Welfare and Development), Karl Caesar Rimando (Department of Interior and Local Government), and Dr. Fidelita Dico (representing Dr. Minerva Molon of the Department of Health) sign memorandum of understanding (MOU) in support of the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) implementation in Eastern Visayas.

DAR links 14 farmer organizations in EV to institutional buyers

August 21, 2020

TACLOBAN CITY – The Chairman of MAALSADA- Farmer Irrigators Service Cooperative (FISCO), Reynaldo Peja, thank the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for linking their organization, as food supplier, to the biggest government hospital in the region.

According to Peja, because of the marketing contract facilitated by DAR, MAALSADA-FISCO, based in Alangalang town, will now be supplying 150 cavans of milled rice every month and 150 kilos of assorted vegetables daily to Eastern Visayas Medical Center (EVRMC), located in this city, which the latter will use to feed their in-patients.

Aside from EVRMC, Peja added, MAALSADA-FISCO will also be supplying milled rice and vegetables to Schistosomiasis Research Hospital in Palo, and the Department of Health-Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DOH-RTC) in Dulag.

Another agrarian reform beneficiaries organization (ARBO) in the province of Leyte, the Paglaum Farmers Association (PFA), based in this city, benefited also from a marketing contract facilitated by DAR under the Enhanced Partnership Against Hunger and Poverty (EPAHP) program of the government.

PFA was linked to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), wherein the former will supply vegetables, livestock, and poultry products to both the male and female dormitories of the Tacloban City Jail which will be used to feed persons deprived of liberty (PDL).

MAALSADA-FISCO and PFA were just two of the 14 ARBOs from different parts of Eastern Visayas who formally sealed marketing contracts simultaneously with 16 institutional buyers thru a virtual ceremony on Wednesday last week.

Aside from the signing of marketing contracts, regional heads of DAR and the Departments of Agriculture (DA), Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Health (DOH), and the Interior and Local Government (DILG), as well as the BJMP also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the same occasion to support and extend the necessary assistance in the marketing of farmers’ products in the region under the EPAHP.

This is the biggest MOU (and marketing contract) signing so far considering the number of partners who joined in today’s undertaking, said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles, who joined similar activity conducted earlier in Regions I, II, III, IV-A, IV-B, V, IX, XI, CARAGA, and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

Nograles, chairperson of Task Force on Zero Hunger on EPAHP, delivered his keynote address via zoom and told the participating ARBOs, “Sa EPAHP wala na kayong middleman. Diretso na kayo sa gobyerno. Ang gobyerno na ang kliyente niyo. Lahat ng kita niyo ay sa inyo mapupunta dahil wala ng middleman na dadaanan. Siguradong tataas na ang inyong kita.”

Meanwhile, Agrarian Secretary John Castriciones commented on the huge number of participants, “In unity there is strength, and this is the reason why this program that we have, which is based on a wholly government approach, is very ideal and, therefore we should do our best in order to re-enhance this program.”

“If we are able to provide good nutrition to our people, chances are, it will boost their immunity. The more it will boost their immunity, it will shield them against COVID-19, and therefore it will be a less burden to our hospitals,” he added.

Under EPAHP, instead of buying food supplies elsewhere, the DOH-retained hospitals and the city/district/municipal jails are encouraged to procure food supplies for the feeding of in-patients and persons deprived of liberty, respectively, from the ARBOs, which is allowed by the Government Procurement Policy Board thru Resolution No. 17-2016.

DAR OIC-Regional Director Ismael Aya-ay disclosed that the other ARBOs in the region that were linked to institutional buyers include the Almeria Seafarers Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Almeria, Biliran which will be supplying vegetables to the Naval District Jail.

In Southern Leyte, the Carnaga Multi-Purpose Cooperative (St. Bernard, Southern Leyte) will supply vegetables to the San Juan District Jail; the Magapso Irrigators Association (Sogod, Southern Leyte), the Association of Farmers and Advocates of Organic Farming (Bontoc, Southern Leyte), and the Buenapama Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Bontoc, Southern Leyte) will pool their harvested vegetables to meet the demands of the Sogod District Jail; while the Hantag Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Maasin City) will supply vegetables to the BJMP in Maasin.

In Eastern Samar, the San Gabriel Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative (Borongan City) and the Camagting Agricultural Association (Balangiga, Eastern Samar) will supply vegetables to the Borongan District Jail and Balangiga District Jail, respectively; while the FEA-Agrarian Reform Cooperative (Salcedo, Eastern Samar) will supply vegetables, poultry products and pork to the Guiuan District Jail.

In Northern Samar, the Allen Organic Vegetable Raisers (Allen, Northern Samar) and the Balat-Balud Farmers Association (Bobon, Northern Samar) will supply milled rice and vegetables to the Catarman District Jail and the DSWD Provincial Office, respectively.

In Western Samar, the Hilaba Farmers Association (Marabut, Samar) will supply vegetables to the Catbalogan District Jail as well as to the Basey Municipal Jail.

From the institutional buyers, Dr. Portia Gravoso-Aliposa, Chief of the DOH-TRC, shared that this partnership program is a big advantage to them for they are assured of the freshness of the products coming directly from the farmers, while Tacloban City Jail Female Dorm Warden, J/INSP Fe Reynalda Chan said, with the ARBO now supplying them farm products, marketing will no longer be a burden to them and that they will be serving nutritious food to PDLs.