SAN AGUSTIN, PILI, CAMARINES SUR - A two- storey dormitory building will be constructed inside the compound of the Agricultural Training Institute here to house farmers, rural women, rural youths, extension workers and other agricultural clients who will be attending various trainings of the institute. The ground breaking ceremony and laying of the time capsule was held on June 1st and was led by Bicol Agriculture regional executive director, Dr. Elena B. de los Santos, Mayor Tomas P. Bongalonta , ATI , OIC- Center chief, Vivien V. Carable , Cooperative Development Authority, regional director, Atty. Marilou Pacao , Albay provincial agriculturist Cheryl Rebeta ,former ATI center director Efren Sabularse and other guests. Fr. Johan Jarcia of St. Raphael parish officiated the blessing.

The ATI which is the training arm of the Department of Agriculture is now situated in the lot owned by the DA located at the diversion road of this municipality. Director de los Santos said in her message that the construction of the dormitory is a welcome development and very timely with the recent issuance of a memorandum by Agriculture Secretary Piñol directing DA offices to observe austerity and economy in the conduct of its training and other events by holding these in DA’s existing facilities or venues not in expensive hotels or resorts. Moreover, Sec. Piñol has instructed all DA regional directors and heads of attached agencies to make it a requisite for beneficiaries or recipients of DA interventions to undergo first training or orientation so that they can fully understand , effectively put to use and appreciate the benefits of the interventions they will be receiving and be fully aware of their obligations.

ATI center director Carable on the other hand said that the structure that will be built would not only be a physical edifice but will symbolize the strength and stability of ATI’s commitment to empower its clients – the farmers, fisherfolk, rural women, rural youth and extension workers through capability building.

Sabularse, the former ATI director was the one who envisioned the construction of the building and other facilities and the development of the ATI site as a learning laboratory where trainees would learn only about theories and concepts but would have hands on and on-site experience of what they are learning. It was during his term that the institute submitted the proposal for funding to its Central office in Quezon City agency but he acknowledged his colleagues at the institute for the collective vision and efforts to realize that dream . He said that the structure will serve as edifice of excellence in extension.

Mayor Bongalonta also thanked the DA for its continuous support to the LGU and for making an impact in the lives of the farmers and other agri-stakeholders in the municipality through its various programs and projects and infrastructure development. Barangay Kagawad Domingo Galvez represented barangay chairperson Oscar Feliña.(Emily B. Bordado)