by: JOSHUA NAYLES, CDS II and DARINE TUPAZ, CDS II
Pursuant to Section 1 of the Executive Order No. 172 issued on June 8, 2022 by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP), the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in partnership with Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) was mandated with the task of strengthening and providing sufficient capability through the conduct of social preparation and training for coconut farmers and their cooperatives to maximize the benefits under the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund ( CFITF) for them to thrive and become self-reliant cooperatives.
For this year’s second cycle of CFIDP implementation, CDA Region 5 has conducted a series of activities which capitalizes on the efficient training and effective organizational management of Coconut Farmers Associations (CFAs) within Region 5.
ON JUNE 20, 2023, a Consultative Forum on Strengthening the Organizational Capability of Coconut Farmer’s Association was held at AVP Catering Services, Legazpi City, Albay. A total of seventy (70) participants from diverse Farmers’ Cooperative Associations (FCAs), Coconut Based Organizations (CBOs), and other government institutions had graced the whole-day activity.
The forum aims to gather issues & concerns regarding the pilot implementation of CDA- CFIDP on year 2022 that would be a great help for the year 2 implementation of the program. The activity focused on the organizational development and management since these are crucial to the growth of FCAs which will collectively empower them to efficiently pool and manage their resources.
Atty. Emilio D. Escueta III, Officer-in-Charge in the Office of the Regional Director of CDA Region 5, commenced the activity by delivering his welcome remarks. His message put emphasis on the rule of the agency in organizing CBOs, that more than the obligation, the CDA Region 5 is committed to its mandate to help the coconut farmers to be more viable by assisting them to become cooperatives.
The morning session focused on CDA’s Roll Out Strategy on the implementation of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP) which was discussed comprehensively by Engr. Zaldy Bermejo, Senior Cooperative Development Specialist of CDA Region 5. Similarly, a presentation on the relevant implementing strategies of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) for the Province of Albay regarding the implementation of CFIDP was discussed thoroughly by Engr. Alvin R. Trespeces, Division Chief of PCA – Albay and Catanduanes.
Meanwhile, the afternoon discourse had shifted on strengthening the organizational capabilities of these FCAs as discussed by Ms. May Celestine S. Nery, Cooperative Development Specialist II of CDA Region 5. She emphasized that FCAs and CBOs as organized cooperatives can receive more support and recognition from government agencies such as an increased access to financial grants, subsidies, technical assistance, and market linkages, which can significantly benefit coconut farmers.
An engaging open forum was then facilitated by panelists from CDA Region 5 represented by Engr. Zaldy Bermejo and PCA represented by Engr. Alvin R. Trespeces to clarify the issues and concerns of FCA members on the efficient roll-out of CFIDP.
Mr. Andres M. Paclibar, 65 years old, organizer of Small Coconut Farmers Organization commented that “napakahalaga ng forum sapagkat binibigyan ng pansin ng gobyerno ang sektor ng mga magsasakang magniniyog. Mula sa karanasan, marami ang mga samahang hindi nagtagumpay dahil sa kakulangan ng wastong kaalaman sa epektibong pamamahala sa mga tao at iba pang resources ng grupo. Ang forum na ginanap ay makakatulong sa matagumpay na pag-oorganisa ng samahan ng mga magniniyog upang maging matagumpay na kooperatiba.”
The activity ended with a closing message from Ms. Myrlin S. Botin, Provincial Cooperative Development Specialist of CDA Albay Contact Office, who highlighted that the organizational strengthening of FCAs and CBOs into cooperative groups provide numerous benefits including enhanced access to financial services, capability building and training, access to government support for social and community development.
The consultative forum was then followed by a simultaneous Pre-Registration Seminar in Iriga City, Camarines Sur and Pio Duran, Albay on June 21, 2023 where a total of one hundred ninety-two (192) participants from the coconut farmers sector had attended. The activity was facilitated by Engr. Zaldy Bermejo, Senior Cooperative Development Specialist of CPDAS together with Ms. Rome Belano and May Celestine Nery, both Cooperative Development Specialist II.
As mandated by Memorandum Circular No. 2 Series of 2017, CDA technical personnel from Extension offices are tasked to conduct a pre-registration seminar to prospective member of a proposed cooperative to orient them about the distinctive features of a cooperative as a social enterprise and its important role towards improving the quality of life of its members and the community where it operates.
“Malaking tulong sa tulad naming maliliit na coconut farmers ang isinagawang pre-registration seminar dahil konti lamang ang nalalaman namin kung paano mag umpisa at magpatakbo ng kooperatiba. Ang mga kaalaman na natutunan naming ay malaking tulong para maibahagi rin namin sa iba at maliwanagan sila sa pagsisimula ng kooperatiba- Emiliana R. Alferez, 36 years member of Small Coconut Farmers Organization.
As an effective partner in the implementation of CFIDP, CDA Region 5 remains committed to its mission of providing coconut farmers with practical and relevant knowledge-based assistance to ensure a functional and viable cooperative for coconut farmers in Bicol Region.
Ending the third week of June 2023, a practical CFIDP Financial Assistance Liquidation Tutorial for Coconut Farmers’ Cooperative from Camarines Norte cum Mid- Year Assessment for CDA Region 5 was conducted on June 22, 2023 , at Natura Verde Farm & Private Resort, San Lorenzo Ruiz, Camarines Norte. The said activity was participated by twenty-six (26) participants representing the 16 coconut-based cooperatives located in the province of Camarines Norte that are the beneficiaries of the PHP 250, 000 financial grant under the CDA -CFIDP Program.
Updates on the status of CDA-CFIDP as of May 2023 including the status of Bicol Coconut Cooperative Federation were presented to the participants by Engr. Zaldy Bermejo, Senior CDS of CDA Region 5. Section Chief Bermejo wanted every cooperative member to be informed on the status of CFIDP implementation while maintaining a solid stand on the compliance of Coconut Farmers Cooperatives to the mandatory reports required by CDA for the proper liquidation of funds granted to the 16 cooperatives.
Presentation of the list of submitted CFIDP Liquidation Reports and a relevant discussion on the required documents for liquidation according to CDA guidelines was presented by Ms. May Celestine S. Nery, CDS II. With the discussion, Ms. Nery reiterates the immediate submission of liquidation reports as soon as the project is completed to avoid any further problem and for them to be eligible again to avail another assistance under the CDA – CFIDP program.
An open forum was held which was facilitated by Engr. Zaldy G. Bermejo, wherein issues and other relevant concerns on liquidation matters were answered and addressed properly. Majority of the cooperatives have agreed to submit their liquidation reports no later than June 30, 2023.
In closing, Atty. Emilio D. Escueta III, OIC – Regional Director of CDA Region 5 emphasized the importance of compliance to submission of liquidation reports, that as to the agreement, the benefitting cooperatives should take their part by complying with the requirements even if without the need of reminding them from time to time. He also assured the present Coconut Farmers Cooperatives (CFCs) beneficiaries of the support and technical assistance of CDA Region 5 for the efficient implementation of the CFIDP.
For the 2nd part of the activity, the Mid-Year Assessment among CDA Employees began on the afternoon of June 22, 2023. The assessment has also been the chance to plan ahead for the upcoming 2nd semester of FY 2023, especially for the roll out plan of CFIDP. Engr. Zaldy Bermejo also discussed the proposed Roll Out Action Plan of CDA-CFIDP Year 2 implementation and encouraged the Field Cooperative Development Specialists (FCDSs) to provide input by suggesting strategies to further enhance the implementation. The said roll out action plan includes a series of mandatory training for the newly registered cooperatives and seminars for social preparation among intended coconut-based organizations that are to be cooperatives having them endorsed by the Philippine Coconut Authority Region 5 (PCA Region 5).
Wrapping it up, the CDA Region 5 also hosted the 5th Regional Inter-Agency Technical Committee (RIATC) Meeting on June 26, 2023 at Park Avenue Hotel, Naga City. This coordination meeting is being conducted on a monthly basis, and CDA Region 5 has been given the honor to host the said activity. The 5th RIATC was then participated with 32 representatives from different implementing agencies of CFIDP. Some of the takeaways of the meeting is the CDA Region 5’s update and discussion of schedule of activities. The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) also encouraged every agency to relay to their respective clients the benefits of having an insurance policy for their agricultural production. It has been a collaborative and productive meeting which is focused on gathering concerns among the partner agencies and giving immediate feedback as agreed by the majority of the body. The CDA Region 5 through the OIC, Regional Director Atty. Emilio D. Escueta III extends its gratitude to the attending agencies for having the chance to lead this very vital activity with regards to the CFIDP implementation.
It has been a busy and productive week for the CDA Region 5, but the said activities are just a kick start of more busy months to come. Activities that shall promote the organization of coconut farmers and at the same time further develop the viability of newly organized coconut based cooperatives in support to the thrusts and priorities of Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP).
Download Article here: CDA-CFIDP-YEAR-2-IMPLEMENTATION-TAKES-OFF