DA-PCC joins 2021 women’s month celebration

The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center joined the nation in celebrating this year’s Women’s Month with the theme “We Make Change Work for Women: Juana Laban sa Pandemya: Kaya!”.

In a kick-off program held today, Deputy Executive Director for Production and Research Dr. Claro Mingala and Research and Development Division Officer-In-Charge Dr. Eufrocina Atabay delivered their respective messages emphasizing the all-encompassing role of women in the society as innovators and changemakers.

Sonia Pol, gender and development (GAD) focal person, gave an overview of this year’s campaign, which highlights women’s participation in battling the pandemic and discusses gender issues aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also presented the agency’s lineup of activities, which aim to inform and engage women as stakeholders of government programs and services; create and facilitate platforms to discuss good practices, gaps, challenges, and commitments in pursuing GAD; and inspire and empower women and girls to be agents of change. 

During this year’s month long celebration, the DA-PCC’s Gender and Development Focal Point System (GFPS) will organize and spearhead activities such as Virtual Forum and Sharing of Experiences and Innovations by the #OneDArfulJuana and #OneDArfulJuan and Webinars on Gender Sensitivity Orientation, Gender Fair Communication and Language, and GAD legal mandates to be participated in by DA-PCC’s GFPS members across its network and interested employees.  

Employees also took part in #PurpleMondays by wearing purple dresses and/or accessories to show their support in the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE).

Purple is globally recognized as the color of women that symbolizes justice and dignity.

PCC bags 1st place among DA attached agencies in cash utilization

The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) garnered the highest place among the nine attached agencies of the Department of Agriculture in terms of cash utilization under the 2020 General Appropriations Act, spending 99.90% of the Php437,609,880.00 Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) for fiscal year 2020, which was recognized during the 2020 Year-End Financial Evaluation and Assessment of the Department of Agriculture (DA) last February 22-24 held via webconferencing.

Ranking second was the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) and following it was the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (PCAF) for the third place.

Ms. Charie Sarah D. Saquing, accounting division chief of the DA-Central Office, announced the results and explained the ranking system. There is a maximum of 1,200 points which may be earned by an agency, translating to 100 points per month, which means that the monthly NCA was fully utilized, in which PCC earned over 1,000 points.

Last year, DA grouped all the 31 operating units and ranked them accordingly in which PCC was placed third. Recognizing the intricacies of each form of government instrumentality, this time, DA attached agencies belonged to a separate category, as with DA bureaus and attached corporations, and DA regional offices, recognizing the top three in each group, with a total of nine awardees.

DA Undersecretary for Administration and Finance Roldan G. Gorgonio graced the event with a short message by acknowledging the efforts of the DA finance group in ensuring timely delivery of public service especially in this time of national crisis. He also stressed the importance of keeping up with the changing times by embracing information technology and automating the financial reporting system.

DA-PCC, DA-PCA conduct farmers’ training and turn-over of carabaos and farm tools in Aklan

Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at West Visayas State University (DA-PCC at WVSU), in partnership with DA-Philippine Coconut Authority (DA-PCA) Region VI, conducted farmers’ orientation and turned over 20 carabaos and farm tools and supplies to its respective beneficiaries last February 19.

The said event was one of the directives being advocated by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food, and Agrarian Reform anchored on cara-dairy and coco-based farming.

The turn-over ceremonies were simultaneously held at Brgy. Feliciano, Balete, Aklan and Brgy. Calimbajan, Makato, Aklan, alongside farmers’ orientation on the Coconut Carabao Development Project (CCDP).

DA-PCC WVSU Center Director Arn Granada, DA-PCA Region VI Regional Manager III Jeffrey Delos Reyes, Aklan Vice Governor Hon. Reynaldo Quimpo, and Balete Municipal Mayor Hon. Dexter Calizo led the turn-over ceremony.

In his opening message, Dir. Arn Granada acknowledged the efforts of the local government of Aklan and DA-PCA Region VI for initiating the said project.

On the same day, the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the implementation of the Coconut Carabao Development Project (CCDP) in the Second Congressional District of Aklan was signed by Cong. Teodorico Haresco Jr., partner LGU-Makato, Aklan, and Calimbajan Mainuswagon Panimaeay Consumers Cooperative (CMPCC) at the office of Cong. Haresco, Tangalan, Aklan.

The CCDP aims to provide additional income to coconut farmers by providing sustainable livelihoods and business opportunities through carabao-based enterprises, and to ensure the availability of locally produced milk in support of RA 11037, otherwise known as “Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Program” currently being implemented by Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The said program is centered on the theme, “Developing the Dairy Buffalo Value-Chain Under Coconut Farming System”.

Strengthening carabao-based enterprise thru CCDP

Eighteen farmers attended the site validation and meeting for the Coconut-Carabao Development Project (CCDP) in the province of Biliran last February 17 at Brgy. Canilag, Biliran, Biliran.

Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at Visayas State University (DA-PCC at VSU) Center Director Francisco Gabunada, Jr. led the activity together with Biliran Municipal Agriculturist Limuel Antonio, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Community Development Officer Joanne Corpin and Project Development Officer Chrestian Bacalla, who discussed the potentials of carabao development program and objectives of CCDP with the prospective farmer-beneficiaries on the site.

“Dako na mabubulig kini ha amon kung mahitabo ang maong proyekto kay dugang kini na panginabuhian namo sa adlaw-adlaw. (The project will be a great help for us farmers because it gives us additional livelihood),” according to Thelma Nierras, one of the farmer-beneficiaries.

Before the said site validation and meeting, Dir. Gabunada paid a courtesy call to Biliran Mayor Hon. Grace J. Casil and introduced the plans to the project.

A total of 1,800 pots of guinea grass and sweet napier planting materials were given to the beneficiaries as part of the project’s initial step.

The CCDP is made possible through the support of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform, and will be implemented by the DA-PCC and DA-PCA. It aims to contribute to the uplifting of the economic situation of coconut farmers by way of establishing carabao-based enterprises in the country complemented by increased coconut farm productivity.

During the implementation of CCDP, the PCA will select and validate the project sites and beneficiaries and endorse it to the DA-PCC.  The latter will then facilitate orientations, social preparation and capability-building activities of beneficiaries on topics such as Carabao Production, Processing and Marketing.

Other CCDP pilot sites for Eastern Visayas are Macalpi,Carigara, Leyte; Malapoc Sur, Maasin City, Southern Leyte; San Antonio, Basey, Samar; and Kalingnan, Catubig, Northern Samar.

Scientific Career System confers Scientist I rank to DA-PCC’s top geneticist

Dr. Ester Flores, DA-PCC’s National Genetic Improvement Program (GIP) coordinator, has been conferred the rank of Scientist I under the Scientific Career System (SCS) by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) effective December 3, 2020.

The significant contributions and professional expertise of Dr. Flores in research and development particularly in animal breeding and genomics made her qualified and eligible to the rank of Scientist I, granted by the Scientific Career Council (SCC), which is the governing body of the SCS.

Among the noteworthy accomplishments of Dr. Flores, together with her research team, include the establishment and implementation of separate structured breeding program for riverine and swamp buffaloes; development of a suitable genetic evaluation model for estimation of genetic parameters and estimated breeding values (EBVs); and marker assisted selection, which all paved the way to DA-PCC becoming the only livestock agency in the DA that has a well-organized and -structured breeding program demonstrated with locally produced riverine buffalo and swamp buffalo bulls with EBVs.

These initiatives, coupled with genomic selection using high density single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping, provide the latest generation of performance and progeny tested Philippine dairy buffalo bulls with pedigree-based and genomic breeding values.

Dr. Flores’ team has also extended their research to cattle and pigs with the development of genetic testing protocol for genes associated with fertility, growth rate, meat yield and quality in commercial swine and cattle breeds.

Apart from her research and development work, Dr. Flores also mentors young researchers to broaden their knowledge on research and progress in the scientific path. She encourages them, particularly those who are under her headship at the Animal Breeding and Genomics Section, to take on meaningful research projects.

Dr. Flores will take her oath virtually before the end of the month.

The SCS is “a system of recruitment, career progression, recognition and reward of scientists in the government service as a means of developing a pool of highly qualified and productive scientific personnel”. Its program is being administered by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST).

Some 18k pupils in Bukidnon soon to benefit from milk feeding

A total of 18,507 undernourished pupils in Kindergarten to Grade 6 are set to benefit from a 21-day milk feeding project in select municipalities in Bukidnon. The project will commence in March.

Said initiative will be made possible with the inking of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at Central Mindanao University (DA-PCC at CMU), Department of Education-Division of Bukidnon, and the Muleta Side Buffalo Association (MUSBUDA) to implement the School-based Milk Feeding Program (SBFP) that was initially set in 2020 but was deferred due to the pandemic.

Target beneficiaries in Kindergarten to Grade 6 will each receive 200 ml toned carabao’s milk daily for at least 20 feeding days. This program has a total budget of Php7,135,558.92 covering 25 schools in the municipalities of Manolo Fortich, Lantapan, Sumilao, Cabanglasan, Impasug-ong, Kisolon, Don Carlos, Damulog, and Kadingilan.

DA-PCC at CMU Director Dr. Lowell Paraguas and Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Randolph Tortola, and School Division Nurse Juniel Rey Abadiano, and MUSBUDA Chairperson Carlo Magno Abellanosa led the MOA signing at the Dairy Box Bukidnon, Don Carlos, Bukidnon last February 13.

Director Paraguas said this agreement will directly support Republic Act 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain sa Batang Pilipino Act, which aims to address undernourishment among public day care, kindergarten and elementary pupils nationwide.

He added this undertaking will not only help undernourished children but it will also give an opportunity for dairy cooperatives and associations to have a sustainable livelihood.

Meanwhile, Abellanosa expressed his gratitude on behalf of MUSBUDA saying that it values the support that their association has been getting from DA-PCC and for staying true to its mandate of helping carapreneurs.

He said the Agency has not only helped smallhold farmers like them but have also significantly ushered enhanced nutrition in their communities because of its unwavering service to promote milk drinking in Bukidnon.    

The activity was also participated in by Dr. Elena S. Paraguas, DA-PCC at CMU CBED program coordinator,  and Nida Abellanosa, MUSBUDA secretary.

DA-PCC at WVSU promotes corn silage as feed resource for ruminants

The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at West Visayas State University (DA-PCC at WVSU) demonstrated the use and benefits of corn silage making to farmers at the Sipag Villar Training Center, Brgy. San Jose, San Miguel, Iloilo last

February 9.

Farmer cooperatives from Leon, Iloilo (Leon ConFed Farmers’

Dairy Association), Hamtic, Antique (Hamtic Multi-Purpose Cooperative), Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo (Barotac Nuevo Multi-Purpose Cooperative), and Province of Guimaras participated in the event titled “Demonstration of Corn Silage as Feed Resource for Carabao-Kanding-Baka”.

Dr. Myrtel Alcazar, Genetic Improvement Program Coordinator of DA-PCC at WVSU, gave a review on corn silage making, highlighting its benefits and advantages when used as a feed source for ruminants, especially carabao.

Corn silage is a good high-energy source for dairy cows. It is great for dairy farm systems preventing under or overgrazing while improving animal health and increasing milk production.

Mr. Perlito Echeche, chairman of LECOFADA, together with his selected members

demonstrated the actual preparation of silage.

DA-PCC at WVSU Director Arn Granada extended his appreciation to Villar Sipag for the opportunity to hold the training in its training center recognizing the challenge of conducting one in this time where mobility and gathering are limited.

Senator Cynthia Villar, in a pre-recorded video message, commended DA-PCC at WVSU for the initiative saying this is a positive step toward advancing sustainable local milk production that will benefit Filipino children and increase the income of dairy farmers.

Hiling ko sa Philippine Carabao Center na magsagawa pa kayo ng mga ganitong

pagsasanay sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng bansa para suportahan natin ang ating mga

magsasaka sa pagpapabuti ng kanilang katayuan,” Senator Villar said in her message.

Michael Mayoga, staff under Villar Sipag, welcomed the training participants in a brief tour to the Sipag Villar Training Center which showcased projects such as the masonry, Villar Farm School, and a plastic factory which processes plastic wastes

into chairs.

In her closing remarks, Janice Cuaresma, DA-PCC at WVSU Carabao-Based Enterprise Development coordinator, thanked all the facilitators of the training and looked forward to conducting more related activities in the future.

Also present in the event were Isabelo Luscares, chairman of the Philippine Council for

Agriculture and Fisheries Iloilo; and Chesa Elenterio, representative from the office of Assistant Secretary to the Visayas.

DA-PCC regional center in La Union preps dairy farmers as key players in local dairy value chain

The local dairy industry in La Union and Pangasinan, which are service areas of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Carabao Center at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DA-PCC at DMMMSU), is expected to hit a vibrant mood as the latter signals the DA-PCC’s participation in the national milk feeding program.Led and implemented by the Department of Education (DepEd), the DA-PCC joins the effort in the nationwide School-Based Feeding Program (SBFP) pursuant to Republic Act No. 11037 also known as the “Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act”, by linking DepEd to the suppliers of milk from participating dairy buffalo cooperatives.

Also joining the cause are local government units of select school beneficiaries and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. “This program will provide dairy value chain players with sustainable livelihood while boosting the local dairy industry and ultimately benefitting undernourished children,” DA-PCC Executive Director Dr. Arnel Del Barrio said. Championing this very agenda is Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food Chairperson Cynthia Villar who funded the project titled Carabao-based Business Improvement Network (CBIN), popularized as “Accelerating Livelihood Assets Buildup (ALAB)-Karbawan”. Entrustment of milk processing equipment to Bantog Samahang Nayon Multipurpose Cooperative (BSNMPC), the conduit co-op of DA-PCC for this project, is one of the CBIN’s initiatives.

Included in the milk production and processing equipment and materials for entrustment are eight chest freezers, 150 ice boxes, three vehicles for transporting milk, three display chillers, 250,000 milk sachets, stickers for labels and kitchen utensils.

Said ceremonial entrustment, slated on September 9 in Asingan, Pangasinan, ensures that dairy farmers are soon to have a steady stream of income from their dairy venture while giving milk consumers an assurance that the products produced by the co-op and sold in the Dairy Box outlet are of high quality.

In the provinces of La Union and Pangasinan, some 172 schools were identified for the SBFP benefitting about 65,097 schoolchildren ages 6 to 12 years old.

“We hope this program will encourage more farmers to consider dairying as a business opportunity. We aim to help our communities rise above mere subsistence and eventually boost the local dairy industry in the region,” Vilma Gagni, officer-in-charge of DA-PCC at DMMMSU, said.

Nationwide, the feeding program is looking to serve 394,433 undernourished children who are in Kindergarten to Grade 6 and are also SBFP beneficiaries for hot meals. Each child will receive 200 ml toned carabao’s milk for at least 20 feeding days.

In June 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA No. 11037 to address the problem of undernutrition among Filipino children through a National Feeding Program of which one of the components is the Milk Feeding Program with fresh milk or fresh milk-based product as additional component to hot meals.

Bohol LGU partners with PCC to mitigate setbacks of lockdown to dairy farmers

“Karong panahona, magtinabangay gyud ta [in this (COVID-19) time, we really need to help each other],” Mayor Constantino H. Reyes of the municipality of Ubay said during an interview about the LGU’s efforts to fight against COVID-19.

​Reyes underscored how partnership has helped the municipality carry out its responsibility to its constituents during the community quarantine (CQ) period in response to COVID-19. Thru a 50:50 counterpart, the Philippine Carabao Center at Ubay Stock Farm (PCC@USF) and the municipality aided a total of Php1.6 million-worth of toned carabao’s milk included in the latter’s relief packs to more than 20,000 households in Ubay. The milk was sourced from Bohol Dairy Cooperative (BODACO).

Guillerma Abay-abay, Carabao-based Enterprise Development (CBED) coordinator of PCC@USF, said this initiative would help secure the income of dairy farmers while at the same time help boost the immunity of people during the CQ.

“Ang kining gatas, immune-booster na no (Milk is an immune-booster),” Mayor Reyes said.

“Problema, og di nato paliton ang ilang gatas, maundang intawon pod ang ilang panginabuhian nga mao pu’y ilang gisaligan intawon sa ilang inadlaw-adlaw nga pagkaon, pang gasto, duna pa sila’y anak nga nangiskwela (The problem is if we don’t buy their milk, they won’t have a source of income where most of their daily needs depend on including financing for their children’s education),” he added.

​Also included in the LGU’s relief pack are six kilograms of rice, six pieces of canned sardines, one dozen eggs, three packs of noodles, three sachets of milk, three sachets of powdered chocolate drink, and one whole piece of dressed chicken.

​Although Bohol has no confirmed positive COVID-19 cases yet, the province was placed under CQ on March 16, 2020 by virtue of Executive Order (EO) No. 08. This restricts travels to and from Bohol, prohibits the operation of non-essential businesses and tourism sites, and directs people to stay at home for the time being.