DA-PCC holds Policy Formulation training workshop for co-ops

The DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) conducted a virtual Policy Formulation training workshop for its assisted cooperatives on April 26-27.

Said activity aims to enhance and enrich the knowledge of cooperative managers and boards of directors on policy formulation and implementation.

Atty. Roney Jone Gandeza, a law professor at the University of Cordilleras, provided insights on effective policy writing during the two-day activity.

He emphasized three crucial aspects of policymaking—the policy must be: (1) known and understood by all those affected; (2)realistic; (3) and consistent.

“It’s sad that some of our co-op leaders tend to replicate the writings of a lawyer,” Atty. Gandeza said, which encouraged the participants to re-evaluate and calibrate their current Constitution and By-laws (CBL).

“To be honest, we were clueless in developing our policy, but the discussion enlightened us,” Mercy, a co-op member participant, stated. 

Moreover, the participants were able to practice the lessons they had learned from the training by drafting a policy regarding habitual tardiness during the workshop. 

“This training magnified the reality that our co-op really needs a generic template in making a policy,” Estella Valiente, Socio-Economics and Policy Section head, said during her closing remarks.

Dairy hub soon to rise in Visayas

The DA-PCC at Visayas State University (DA-PCC at VSU) is soon to lead the establishment of a milk processing and marketing facility in support of the Coconut-Carabao Development Project (CCDP) in Visayas.

Groundworks to realize this cause was discussed during the visit of the DA-PCC national headquarters team led by Deputy Executive Director for Production and Research Dr. Claro N. Mingala with Research and Development Division Chief Dr. Marvin A. Villanueva to Kangara Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Carigara, Leyte last April 21.

A memorandum of agreement will be signed between the DA-PCC at VSU and the cooperative represented by co-op Chairperson Herminia Carolino, General Manager Dominador Sudario, and DA-PCC at VSU staff Dr. Ivy Fe Lopez. After the turnover of the facilities, the cooperative will be in charge of the implementation of the project.

The project, a partnership between the DA-PCC and the DA-Philippine Coconut Authority, aims to contribute milk supply to the Milk Feeding Program implemented under Republic Act No. 11037 otherwise known as “Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino.” This means livelihood opportunities will abound benefitting the co-op members of the cooperatives, partnership between the co-op and the DA-PCC will be strengthened, and the benefits of carapreneurship as an additional profitable business venture will be promoted in the locality.

During the visit, Dr. Mingala and the team also met with DA-PCC at VSU Center Director Francisco Gabunada to discuss collaboration on research, extension, and instruction, and in other areas or disciplines where the use of different commodities and resources of several funding agencies may be beneficial. VSU College of Veterinary Science and Medicine Dean Dr. Santiago Peña Jr., Department of Animal Science Head Dr. Manuel Gacutan Jr., and College of Agriculture staff joined the exploratory meeting.

VSU Vice President for Research, Extension and Innovation Dr. Maria Juliet Ceniza welcomed the party prior to their tour of the university.

DA-PCC’s knowledge products, extension services go digital

Contactless payments, online shopping, and virtual conferences and meetings are among the regular tasks borne out of the digital revolution that have now become a way of life due to the protracted pandemic.

Joining the digital transformation is the DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) that digitalized its extension and advisory services to ensure accessibility of its knowledge products by a wider audience.

The DA-PCC launched its Knowledge Portal (or simply K-Portal), which serves as a hub or a one-stop e-platform for all knowledge products (in various formats) produced by the agency through its Knowledge Management Division (KMD).

“You can explore and navigate this portal like a website. Once you subscribe to this platform, you will be updated and notified through your email every time the agency has new publication releases,” KMD Chief Dr. Eric Palacpac said.

Meanwhile, another digital innovation of the agency also through the KMD is the Virtual Tour of the DA-PCC national headquarters in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija, which not only shows a glimpse of what it is like visiting the DA-PCC facilities but also provides useful information about water buffalo production and accompanying technologies.

“As you click the link of the Virtual Tour, you are a step closer to this simulated but equally immersive learning experience right in the comfort of your homes or wherever you are currently located. This is very timely now that we’re still in a pandemic situation,” Dr. Palacpac averred.

The DA-PCC invites everyone to register and subscribe to its K-Portal through k-portal.pcc.gov.ph and Virtual Tour through vtour.pcc.gov.ph for them to be updated on the goings-on in the implementation of its program and services and to be aware not only of the significant results of research and development studies and undertakings of the agency but also of the opportunities in the carabao industry.

DBM commends DA-PCC in annual monitoring and review of agency performance

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has lauded the DA-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) for its efficient physical, financial, and income performance in a recently conducted monitoring and review of agency performance for FY 2021.

The DA-PCC is commended for exceeding all its set physical targets with accomplishment rates ranging from 102% to 133% and a revenue performance of 102.01%. The agency is also praised for its disbursement rate of 100% in total disbursement authorities issued.

DBM reported that the DA-PCC managed to meet and exceed its targets despite the adversities brought about by the pandemic.

DA-PCC OIC Executive Director Dr. Ronnie Domingo congratulated all PCCeans for the commendable financial utilization report.

DBM subsequently cited several recommendations for DA-PCC’s continual improvement of performance particularly on fund utilization vis-à-vis its plans and targets, which include implementation of tighter linkage between strategic and operational planning and budgeting, as well as, promotion of better designed, well-prepared, and “shovel-ready” programs and projects. Meanwhile, DA-PCC also garnered the highest place among the nine attached agencies of the DA for two consecutive years in terms of cash utilization under the General Appropriations Act, spending 99.90% of the Php437,609,880.00 Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) for FY 2020 and 100% of the Php592,079,159.00 NCA for FY 2021.

DA-PCC joins DA-RFO V in LN2 Depot Project

The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center (DA-PCC) National Headquarters and Gene Pool (NHQGP) team, led by Deputy Executive Director for Production and Research Dr. Claro N. Mingala, visited the physical structure and site along the vicinity of the DA-Regional Field Office (DA-RFO) V in San Agustin Pili, Camarines Sur headed by Regional Director Rodel P. Tornilla, where a liquid nitrogen (LN2) depot is expected to rise.

Joining Dr. Mingala were Animal Breeding and Genomics Section Head and Scientist I Dr. Ester Flores, Planning and Information Management Division Officer-in-Charge Alvin David, Admin. Assistant IV Catherine Alyssa Licudo, and Engineer Raul Ruba. Assisting the team were Regional Livestock and Poultry Coordinator Dr. Marisa Guillermo and DA-PCC at University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Center Director and project head Dr. Thelma Saludes.

The NHQGP team further shared with the DA-RFO some of the agency’s practices in LN2 handling particularly in the National Livestock Cryobank facility as well as the requirements for physical structure of Vacuum Insulated Evaporator (VIE) tank.

LN2 is essential in preserving livestock cells and tissues in dormant state while temporarily ceasing most of their vital functions without causing death.

Said project is a joint endeavor of DA-RFO V and DA-PCC at UPLB as part of their commitment to expand technical assistance and services offered to livestock clients in order to increase farm efficiency and profitability.

Further, DA-PCC is also planning to set up additional infrastructures for workplace, quarters, and tank storage facility near the establishment.

A memorandum of agreement (MOA) is being drafted for the official documentation of the project.

DA-PCC extends R&D partnership with DMMMSU and Swisspharma

From mining of seaweeds as an alternative feed supplement for water buffaloes, conversion of carabaos milk into solid form, to innovated techniques in determining and treating diseases in water buffalo and others; these were the areas for Research and Development (R&D) collaboration discussed during the succeeding visitation of DA-PCC National Headquarters and Genepool (NHQGP) to the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU) in La Union, and Swisspharma Research Laboratories, Inc. in Laguna.

On April 5-6, the DA-PCC NHQGP team led by Deputy Executive Director for Production and Research Dr. Claro N. Mingala, Production System and Nutrition Section (PSNS) Head Mary Rose De Guia, Livestock Biotechnology Center staff, and DA-PCC at DMMMSU Center Director Vilma Gagni, met with DMMMSU-Fisheries Research and Training Institute (FRTI) Director Dr. Andie John Tadeo to discuss the research project titled: Mining Alternative Feed Sources Using Seaweeds for Water Buffaloes.

De Guia presented the important benefits and components of seaweed to consider as an alternative source of feed supplement for water buffaloes in the country. Dr. Mingala was also stern to instruct precautions while conducting the project to avoid any unfavorable effect on seaweed production and sustainability of the said resources.

The following day, the team visited the seaweed farm while observing and assessing the environmental condition in the area.

On the other hand, another batch from DA-PCC NHQGP composed of Research and Development Division (RDD) Chief Dr. Marvin A. Villanueva, Product Development and Innovation Section (PDIS) Head Mina P. Abella, with Patrizia Camille O. Saturno, Science Research Specialist II, and Teresita M. Baltazar, Science Research Specialist I also met with Swisspharma President Benjamin G. Tantiansu on April 7.

President Tantiansu with R&D Head Tess Plazo and Quality Management Department (QMD) Head Sotera Jordan discussed with the DA-PCC team about research plans to convert carabao milk into powder or tablet form, particularly to support the milk feeding program of DA-PCC and DSWD. This is in response to the concern raised by PDIS head and Milk Feeding Program Coordinator Abella about their struggle on keeping Milk products fresh, particularly when reaching to clients in far flung communities.

The discussion also involved collaboration on testing of antibiotic meds for Carabao, having a customized dosage of Praziquantel as treatment for Schistosomiasis in water buffalo, development of lateral flow assay or analysis for several cattle diseases like Leptospirosis, and testing of antibiotic residues in carabao milk.

Pres. Tantiansu also indulged the team with an exclusive visit throughout the research facility, particularly in their microbiology section, R&D office, molecular testing lab section, stem cell area, and nutrition center, while also introducing to them some of their high-end research instruments and technologies in the laboratory.

Swisspharma, a Filipino- Swiss joint venture is engaged in contract manufacturing, R&D of pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, and food supplements for the international and local markets employing state of the art technology as well as the latest procedures in the industry.

First-ever Dairy Box outlet in Aurora Province is soon to rise

Anyone who hears about Aurora Province can visualize images of historical landmarks, picturesque beaches, and majestic mountains. Similar to its tourism tagline, “Aurora Rising,” a dairy processing plant and marketing outlet is set to become a tourist destination in Malasin, Maria Aurora.

Joining the popular destinations in the province such as the Museo de Baler and Doña Aurora House, the Dairy Box, which is a one-stop-shop for dairy products of dairy farmers is hoped to be added to the “must-see” bucket list of tourists.

Initial works to make this possible was the signing of Memorandum of Agreement between the DA-Philippine Carabao Center, the Provincial Government of Aurora, and the Cornerstone Training and Learning Center Corporation (CTLCC). The latter is a model carabao-based enterprise and a legitimate civil society organization accredited by DA.

Under the said agreement, the parties will work together to attain sustainable development objectives such as the provision of technical training and assistance at the onset of its operation, funding assistance for capability building, and formulation of policies specific for buffalo production.

Dr. Estrella Buenaventura, president of CTLCC, expects that the outlet would provide additional opportunities for the locals.

“Tatlong-taon pa lang ang aming organisasyon pero umaasa kami na mas titibay pa ang ating partnership upang dumami ang kabuhayan ng mga taga-Aurora,” she said.

Governor Gerardo Noveras also expressed his hope that the project would help alleviate if not totally eliminate the province’s malnutrition problem.

In response, DA-PCC OIC-Executive Director Dr. Ronnie Domingo, said the project will not only increase livelihood opportunities in the province but will also aid malnutrition such as the conduct of milk feeding program. He also assured the support of the agency to the organization.

“Aalalayan namin kayo. Tutulong kami sa patuloy na pagpapaunlad ng matatag na lahing kalabaw para sa Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita.”

The “Masaganang Ani at Mataas na Kita” is the battle cry of the Department of Agriculture, led by Secretary William Dar, that aims to make smallholder Filipino farmers and fisherfolks more prosperous, with the goal of doubling their incomes.

Present to witness the MOA signing were Maria Aurora Mayor Amado Genete and Provincial Veterinarian Dr. Angelo Silvestre.

The activity is a component of the project titled Carabao-based Business Improvement Network (CBIN), popularized as Accelerating Livelihood Assets Buildup (ALAB)- Karbawan of the DA-PCC. It was funded by the Office of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform Chairperson Senator Cynthia Villar and is geared towards providing income opportunities to farmers and progressing the carabao dairy industry.

DA-PCC eyes R&D collab with BISU

DA-PCC represented by OIC Deputy Executive Director for Production and Research Dr. Claro N. Mingala and DA-PCC at Ubay Stock Farm (DA-PCC at USF) Center Director Dr. Maria Dinah Loculan proposed collaboration with the Bohol Island State University (BISU) on Research and Development (R&D) advancements during the Central Visayas Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (CVAARDEC) meeting and orientation with University President Dr. Regucivilla A. Pobar and faculty members held at BISU.

Dr. Mingala attended the meeting as part of his itinerary during his visit to the island from March 30 to April 1 with the objective of expanding the agency’s partnership and network.

Dr. Mingala proposed a MOA signing with the university and discussed plans to offer R&D services, optimization of facilities, scholarship opportunities, and research item for BISU. Dr. Mingala also enticed the university to pay a visit to the PCC National Headquarters and Genepool (NHQGP) in the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija for first-hand orientation and insights into the agency’s facilities and services.

Dr. Mingala also witnessed the preparation of DA-PCC at USF for the milk feeding program implementation and the ongoing renovation and reconstruction of the damaged facilities from typhoon Odette, while also checking out the centers native “oikos”, a recently developed technology of the center which serves as compost activator.

USF Station Chief Joaquin P. Polestico Jr., In-Charge of Farm Operations Dr. Emerson Tapdasan, and Dir. Loculan also accompanied Dr. Mingala to the native pig and chicken farm where they examined the negative and devastating aftermath of the recent typhoon. Dr. Mingala mentioned potential assistance from our Cryobank unit for semen preservation of their native livestock including cattle.

The DA-PCC NHQGP team also met with Central Visayas Livestock Research and Development Facility OIC Dr. Estrella B. Mellomida and staff to discuss possible collaboration with DA-PCC to maximize and optimize laboratory equipment or facilities in line with the One DA initiative.

Dairy Box outlet soon to open in Zambales

Zambales is known for its beautiful coastline that can easily charm any beach bum and is a go-to province as soon as summertime starts waving.

Masinloc, a coastal municipality in Zambales, is also known for its sweet mangoes, which is a source of income for the locals. Soon, tourists and locals alike will witness the booming of another industry with the groundbreaking of a Dairy Box outlet and processing facility in said town, yesterday, April 4.

Dairy Box is an infrastructure support for smallholder dairy farmers designed to provide them with an opportunity to gain access to the commercial market for greater income.

Atty. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla, Representative of the 2nd District of Zambales, immediately thought of the Masinloc to be the recipient of the project because of the vibrant economic activities in the town and for the capability of its local government to sustain community-based livelihood projects for its citizens.

Initially, the Dairy Box was supposed to be built near the public wet market but Masinloc Municipal Mayor Arsenia Lim finally decided that such project that could potentially be a come-on for more tourists should be raised along the baywalk.

“When I saw the design, I immediately recommended the baywalk to be the location because the theme of the shop complements the ambiance,” Mayor Lim said.

The project will be operated by the Masinloc Farmers Agriculture Cooperative while the LGU and the DA-PCC will be providing technical training and assistance at the onset of its operation.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Ericson Dela Cruz, Center Director of PCC at CLSU, said this is just the beginning of a meaningful partnership between DA-PCC, the LGU, and the local farmers of Masinloc.

A MOA signing was held at the Masinloc Municipal Hall prior to the groudbreaking ceremonies. This was joined by Congresswoman Montalla, DA-PCC Deputy Executive Director for Research and Development Dr. Claro Mingala, co-op chairperson Hermenegildo Manglicmot, and Dr. Dela Cruz.

The establishment of a Dairy Box is one of the components under the Carabao-based Business Improvement Network (CBIN) project funded by the Office of Senator Cynthia Villar. The CBIN aims to propel an inclusive, sustainable, and highly competitive local dairy industry.