NAGA CITY – All systems go for the pre-implementation of the Special Areas for Agricultural Development (SAAD) in the Bicol Region which kicked off with a two-day action planning workshop on August 9-10, 2017 in one of the hotels here.

Dir. Bernadette San Juan, SAAD Deputy Project Director, personally guided the DA regional office SAAD team during the workshop. The team is composed of the Research Outreach Stations Superintendents, Agricultural Program Coordinating Officers (APCOs), and representatives from all operating units.


Director San Juan said that SAAD is one of the strategies Secretary Manny F. Piñol introduced upon his assumption of DA’s top post to alleviate poverty and achieve food security. It started in 2016 in the top 10 poorest provinces of the country, looking into the weaknesses of these areas, and their potentials in food production and livelihood programs. The program is anchored on two major components which are Social Preparation and Food Production and Livelihood. She explains that this program is people focused to address the needs of special clients – those agri stakeholders not qualified for regular programs.

Director San Juan added that she is very optimistic with the quality of the output in Bicol. She rallied the team to go for high success rate in implementation in 2018 and aim for high impact of the program in 2019.

Emily Bordado, Regional Information Officer, in her welcome message, said that SAAD is a welcome opportunity to the region particularly the far flung areas as the target areas are those which have not received any intervention from DA from the last two years. She challenged the regional SAAD team to ensure that there will be no “sad” stories but success stories after the program implementation.

DA Bicol OIC Regional Technical Director Rodel P. Tornilla, who is the SAAD Project Head and Focal Person in the Bicol region thanked the regional team for wholeheartedly accepting the additional task amidst the present implementation of various regular programs and he rallied the group to the make sure that all the targets of the program will be delivered within the timeframe.

SAAD is a Visayan dialect which means “promise.” With the allocated budget of P91 million for the Bicol region for 2018, SAAD will surely be more than just a promise. The funds will be used to finance livelihood projects on upland rice, corn, livestock and poultry and vegetables.

For 2018, the three provinces of the Bicol region which were included in the top 20 poorest provinces were identified as pilot areas of SAAD. In the province of Masbate, the municipalities of Monreal, San Pascual, Balud, Mandaon, Uson and Cawayan were initially included. In the province of Catandunes, the municipalities of Gigmoto, Bagamanoc, Baras, San Miguel, Bato and Panganiban were potentially identified. In the province of Sorsogon, the municipalities of Magallanes, Donsol, Matnog, Juban, Barcelona and Prieto Diaz were also tentatively identified as pilot areas. (Lovella P. Guarin/RAFIS 5 / photo credit Raymond Adversario)