DA family PIOs convene in PCC for its annual meeting

Aware of their crucial role in the attainment of the goals of the Department of Agriculture (DA), 37 public information officers of the DA bureaus, attached agencies and corporations, and foreign-assisted projects convened in a consultative meeting last November 15-17.

The second semester meeting was held at the national headquarters of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.

Director Noel Reyes of the Agriculture and Fisheries Information Service (DA-AFIS), in his message, emphasized to the PIOs “important role” in promoting the DA’s agenda on attaining food sufficiency.

“With our pooled and harmonized efforts in promoting the programs of our department, particularly on the food sufficiency program, Secretary Proceso Alcala hopes to attain this goal despite the odds that we are facing due to the calamities that struck our country,” Dir. Reyes said.

In a special message sent by the Secretary, he said the consultative assembly should be a way to “harmonize the efforts of the DA family PIOs in the implementation of their respective communication-information plan and advocacy campaign activities with the Department’s major programs, goals and thrusts.”

Program directorates and their representatives were also invited to the meeting to present updates on DA’s program on rice, corn, high-value crops development, livestock, and fisheries. Agencies in the science city community also presented their programs and current projects to the meeting. PCC executive director Dr. Libertado Cruz presented the agency’s programs and activities. PhilRice’s presentation was made by its deputy director for development Dr. Eduardo Quilang, while that of PhilMech was done by chief science research specialist Dr. Rodolfo Estigoy.

In his presentation of the PCC program, Dr. Cruz emphasized that PCC only uses the carabao as a medium in implementing a smallholder farmer-focused social program with the end goal of establishing village-based carabao enterprises for increased income and nutrition in the countryside.

During the opening ceremonies, Dr. Cruz gave his warm welcome to the PIOs saying that he hoped for the participants a pleasant learning experience at PCC. He thanked Director Reyes for selecting PCC as the venue for this year’s meeting of the PIOs.

“We hope that your stay here, though very brief, will be a learning experience for you about the programs of PCC and its neighboring R&D agencies,” Dr. Cruz said.

Toward the end of the meeting, it was agreed that the next assembly would be slated in the first quarter of 2012 to be conducted in a yet to be selected place in the Visayas.

PCC at La Carlota Stock Farm gets new home

After 18 years of waiting, the Philippine Carabao Center at La Carlota Stock Farm (PCC-LCSF) finally gets its “dream home”.

PCC-LCSF’s center director Ariel L. Abaquita and his employees happily led in the inauguration and blessing of their new office building in La Carlota City, Negros Occidental last October 25.

Rev. Amsil Alubog blessed the building.

Abaquita thanked PCC executive director Dr. Libertado C. Cruz for the realization of the facility.

The event was graced with the attendance of Dr. Placida E. Lemana, representing governor Alfredo G. Marañon, Jr.; Dr. Joyce Wendam, regional technical director, Policy, Planning, Research and Development of the Department of Agriculture and Food in Iloilo City; Hon. Luis Jalandoni III, representing mayor Juliet Marie Ferrer of La Carlota City; Loreto N. Cauntoy, representing mayor Ramon D. Torres of Bago City; Dr. Elizer Dela Cruz, city veterinarian of Bago City; Nanette Escarsa, barangay captain of La Granja; and Carmelita Centenna and council members of La Granja.

Also in attendance were the La Granja agency heads such as Milagros Abaquita, agricultural center chief IV, BPI-LGNCRDC; Crecensia Morales, chief, science research specialist, SRA-LGAREC; Ermelando Meniel, agricultural center chief III, DA-RIARC, Analee Bartolo of La Granja Elementary School; and Eunice Gumasing of La Granja National High School.

Officials from the PCC National Headquarters also attended the event. They were Dr. Annabelle S. Sarabia, Chief, Operations Group; Dr. Eric P. Palacpac, Chief, Knowledge Resource and Management Division; the center directors from other regions namely Dr. Edwin Atabay, PCC-CLSU with wife Dr. Eufrocina Atabay who is the head of theReproductive Biotechnology Unit; Prof. Grace Marjorie Recta, PCC-MMSU; Dr. Arnel Del Barrio, PCC-UPLB; Dr. Caro B. Salces, PCC-USF; Dr. Myrtel Alcazar, representing PCC-WVSU; and Francisco Gabunada, PCC-VSU. Partners of PCC-LCSF in implementing the artificial insemination (AI) program and several AI technicians from different LGU partners were also present.

Guests in the inauguration planted fruit trees in vacant lot at the side and back of the PCC office as a remembrance of their presence. They called the trees “Fruit trees to remember”. These fruit trees are hoped to bear fruits in three to five years from now.

Abaquita said their efforts paid off and that they are now more inspired in realizing their common pursuit of making an impact in the lives of carabao farmers not only in La Carlota but in the whole province of Negros Occidental.