The Department of Agriculture (DA) conducted the CY 2023 Locally-funded Projects (LFPs) Year-End Assessment on March 18 to 22, 2024 in Naga City, Camarines Sur. DA Bicol hosted the national event which aimed to review the LFPs’ physical and financial performance for CY 2023, discuss specific issues, concerns and challenges affecting the progress of project implementation, and recommend strategies and points of action that Project Management Offices (PMOs) may consider to spur project implementation.

Over 100 project directors, PMO staff, project focal persons and report officers of 33 LFPs attended the activity to present their respective projects’ physical and financial accomplishments, success stories, best practices and innovations as well as implementation challenges, bottlenecks and ways forward.

DA Assistant Secretary for Operations U-Nichols Manalo graced the opening program of the activity. He recognized the participants’ essential role in delivering DA’s programs, projects and services directly to the grassroots. He underscored that the event is also an opportune time to share best practices being initiated or implemented by the LFPs which other projects may adopt as well as mainstream in the DA regular programs and projects.

DA Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) National Project Coordination Office Senior Institutional Development Specialist Renato Manantan lectured on Mainstreaming the PRDP Processes into the Department of Agriculture while DA Climate Resilient Agriculture Office (CRAO) Director Alicia Ilaga, DA CRAO Senior Technical Staff Perla Baltazar, and DA Calabarzon AMIA Focal Person Ella Obligado shared the Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture (AMIA) Decision Support Tools, Direction and Strategies.

The DA Special Projects Coordination and Management Assistance Division (SPCMAD) also launched its Special Projects Monitoring and Evaluation Tool (SPMET) during the event. According to DA SPCMAD Development Management Officer II Kristina Concepcion Labita, the SPMET is a newly developed monitoring and evaluation (M&E) tool designed to measure the PMOs’ performance.

The weeklong event also featured a mini-exhibit of the value-added products of some of DA Bicol’s LFP beneficiaries including the AMIA, Farm and Fisheries Clustering and Consolidation (F2C2), Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD), Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran ng Kababayang Katutubo (4Ks), PRDP, and the Young Farmers Challenge as well as an information booth of the DA Bicol Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).

DA SPCMAD Chief Angelita Martir thanked the DA Bicol for hosting the activity. She also acknowledged the support of the Office of the Secretary, Monitoring and Evaluation Division, Project Development Service as well as the cooperation of all PMOs that attended the activity.

“Marami pong salamat sa inyong suporta Region V… Sa inyo pong lahat, kung wala po kayo hindi rin naman po magiging successful ‘yung activity na ito dahil kayo po ang sina-subject namin for the assessment and we wanted to know kung ano po ang nangyayari sa mga projects. Basically, ang amin pong objective is to check on hindi lang po based on paper or reports that you submitted to us. Sa inyo po manggagaling ‘yung performance ng inyong project,” she said.

Meanwhile, in his Closing Remarks, DA Bicol Regional Executive Director Rodel Tornilla, congratulated the participants for their successful implementation of DA’s LFPs.

“I would like to congratulate everyone sa pag-implement natin ng mga locally-funded projects for the last several years. Palakpakan natin ang ating mga sarili kasi lahat naman tayo nag-exert ng effort, lahat naman tayo nagtrabaho, and lahat naman tayo ay magagaling na magtrabaho. Walang hindi magaling dito sa Department of Agriculture,” he said.

He also lauded the DA SPCMAD for developing the SPMET saying “‘Yung categorization ninyo ng inyong assessment, pinapakita doon ‘yung mga projects na meron pang corrective measure na puwedeng gawin. Napakaganda po.”

Moreover, he reminded everyone about the importance of service quality over their projects’ performance ranking.

“Minsan, nafo-focus tayo sa numbers. Dapat mataas ang disbursement, dapat mataas ang physical. Gusto mo nandoon ka sa top five, pag nasa top five ka magaling ka. How about ‘yung wala sa top five? Hindi ba sila magaling? Hindi ba sila nagtrabaho ng maayos? In reality, ang focus natin pag nagkakaroon tayo ng assessment should be number one, is on the quality of the services that we are offering to our beneficiaries kasi ‘yun naman ang pinaka-measure ng success ng implementation ng ating projects,” he added.

The assessment concluded with a field visit to the SAFE Innovation Hub for Coconut and Other Coconut By-Products in Pili, Camarines Sur, Regional Climate Mitigation Center and Integrated Laboratories Division (ILD) Building as well as the DA TechnoMerkado in DA Bicol Compound and the DA PRDP Slaughterhouse in Brgy. San Rafael Buhi, Camarines Sur.

DA Field Operations Service OIC-Director Lorna Belinda Calda, Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service Director Junibert De Sagun, SAAD National Director Ulysses Lustria Jr., DA Bicol Regional Technical Director for Operations Dr. Mary Grace Rodriguez, and Naga City Agricultural Technologist Ernesto Asence III also joined the activity.

Currently, DA has a total of 38 LFPs that support various aspects of agriculture and fishery sector growth nationwide such as rural development, agri-enterprise livelihood, enterprise-related infrastructure, climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction, and agri-fishery equipment and infrastructure. These LFPs also support indigenous peoples (IPs) and youth support, digital agriculture, irrigation development, livestock, and provide subsidies to local farmers and fisherfolk. (Annielyn L. Baleza, DA RAFIS V)

Photo Credits: Ramon C. Adversario Jr., DA RAFIS V and Paulo Quizana, DA SAAD V