Healthcare coop signs direct supply contract with DAR, farmers

Published March 24, 2019, 4:14 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Ellalyn De Var-Ruiz 

A healthcare cooperative has signed a deal with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to directly source produce requirements of partner-hospitals nationwide from the agency’s farmer-beneficiaries.

The Medical Mission Group Hospitals and Health Services Cooperative of the Philippines (MMGHHSCP), composed of 24 health cooperatives nationwide, requires a steady supply of food items such as rice, vegetables, root crops and other farm products for the groups and their hospitals.

Dr. Jose Tiongco, executive director of the MMGHHSCP, said their federation is hoping to promote the economic empowerment of agrarian reform beneficiaries through sustainable partnership as a direct buyer of their farm-products and services.

“Our hospitals have more than a thousand beds nationwide and our more than 30,000 members and employees constitute a combined food market that would be of great help to the farmers,” Tiongco said.

He added that as a direct buyer to the farmers, their group will be available to eliminate the need for middlemen who buy the produce for cheap and sell them at higher prices in the markets.

Philips Saavedra, national coordinator of one of DAR’s support services programs, said their group is ready to supply the food and dietary demands of the 24 cooperative chapters of MMGHHSCP.

DAR Undersecretary for Support Services Emily Padilla said the partnership is part of the agency’s six-point agenda to use the convergence of line departments and private organizations to give support to the farmers.

“Our farmers will get a good price for their products as the Medical Mission Group coordinates directly with the agrarian reform beneficiaries’ organizations for their food requirements and modes of delivery,” Padilla said.

“The MMG will also help develop the capabilities of the farmers on health and wellness services,” she added.

DAR Secretary John Castriciones said he is positive about the implementation of this project and that he would look for other means to expand the partnership.

“I am very glad that there are groups who are after the welfare of our farmers. I hope that this cooperation will create an impact on how we can help our farmers more efficiently,” Castriciones said.

Target pilot areas for this partnership include the town of Bislig in Surigao del Sur, Puerto Princesa City, and the provinces of Sorsogon, Masbate, and Camarines Sur.