CEBU CITY, Feb 3 (PIA) -- A solon allocated at least P100 million of his pork barrel funds for the implementation of “Sagip Saka” advocacy program for the 24 agricultural communities nationwide.
Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, chairman of the senate committees on agriculture and food, and social justice and rural development, and co-chair of the congressional oversight committee on agriculture and fisheries modernization (COCAFM) said that the budget was taken from his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).
Pangilinan explained that "Sagip Saka” is meant to give agriculture and fisheries sector the importance it deserves by building sustainable farming communities nationwide as a means to achieve food security.
Sagip Saka, according to Pangilinan, aims to provide access to investments and credit; open access to market and roll out infrastructure.
It also wants to strengthen research and development; organize farmer communities and cooperatives; ensure the quality and consistency of supply and mitigate the risks brought about by climate change.
The ‘Sagip Saka’ advocacy is realized through the collaborative efforts of the Department of Agriculture and other government agencies; the business sector; farmers and fishers cooperatives; civil society organizations and micro-finance institutions and local government units.
At present the first phase of Sagip Saka already have 24 beneficiaries from the agricultural communities nationwide spread out to cooperatives, agricultural organizations and local government units in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Pangilinan said that the selection of these beneficiaries followed certain criteria and they underwent thorough screening processes.
In every Sagip Saka community, there is a strong and efficient collaboration between and among at least two of the five pillars of the advocacy, Pangilinan added.
"Hindi po one-shot deal ang Sagip Saka, because our focus is to make the program sustainable so that we can help more agriculture and fisheries workers and communities in the coming years,” Pangilinan explained
Other government agencies and local government units also extended their financial supports for Sagip Saka. The Department of Agriculture allocated P20 million for the Ifugao Rice Terraces; the local governments of Cavite and Bicol allocated P5 milion and P4 million for the Cavite and Bicol pilot projects, respectively. (mbcn/AS/PIA-CEBU)